On 24 October the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey, Michael More-Molyneux, visited Splash Meadow in Shepperton to present the Friends of Ash Link, the volunteer group of Spelthorne Natural History Society, with the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. This award is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups and recognises the efforts of our volunteers over several years.
The High Sheriff of Surrey, Jim Glover, local councillors and officials, and members and friends of the Society also attended the ceremony.
Spelthorne Natural History Society began conservation work on behalf of Spelthorne Borough Council at Splash Meadow and Nutty Wood, sites on either side of the M3, in 2007. These sites were declared in 2011 as the Ash Link Nature Reserve - the first Local Nature Reserve in Spelthorne. Following this achievement, work continued resulting in the award from Britain in Bloom of silver gilt medals in 2015 in 2016, and in 2017 a gold medal.
From 2007 to 2018 the Friends of Ash Link were led successfully by Peter Routley. Peter has recently moved to Devon and Irving Lord now leads the volunteers.
The volunteers meet on the first and fourth Wednesday of each month and additionally on occasions as required by the seasons and weather. Our volunteers from time to time host other groups, such as local youth and corporate groups to join in the conservation work and of course new volunteers are always welcome.
In the immediate future, the Society plan to focus on developing Splash Meadow by re-establishing more open water in the pond and restoring Splash Wood into a more bio-diverse habitat and to continue to maintain and enhance Nutty Wood. In addition, whenever possible, the Society will assist and support nature conservation projects in the Borough.
Dr Phillip Cribb, the Society's President, said "Being a small volunteer group makes winning this Award all the more significant. I would like to thank all those who have participated in our conservation efforts and hope this recognition will interest more people to come join us"