TAMESIDE Countryside Volunteers couldn’t be celebrating their 40th anniversary at a better time – National Volunteers Week.
In that time they have worked tirelessly over a huge range of projects. They have improved footpaths, picked up litter, managed wildlife habitats, maintained sites, organised events, led walks and supported educational visits.
Since the 1970s their name has changed slightly to greenspace volunteers, to reflect the wider environment in which they now work, including urban parks, but their value has not changed. They are still a vital part of the service.
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s executive member with responsibility for the environment, commented: “I would like to thank the volunteers, some of whom have been with Tameside Countryside Service since day one, for all their hard work and dedication.
“Their common bond is a shared love of the environment and a desire to make a positive contribution to society. They do a very important job and one that is appreciated by the borough’s residents who love their parks and countryside.”
Brian Taylor, who has been a volunteer for the full 40 years, added: “In 1976 I had moved into a house which backed on to Hulme’s Wood, Denton. I walked my dogs regularly in the Tame Valley and was very angry to see a recently-planted sapling had been broken.
“I contacted the local paper and they mentioned the Tame Valley wardens and the work they were trying to do. I went to a volunteer meeting at Hyde Town Hall and have been involved ever since.”
Alan Bamforth, another 40-year veteran, added: “I used to go into the Tame Valley regularly. I was told they were going to start a volunteer service, got notice of a meeting, attended, and that was it.
“Since then I have seen Tameside’s greenspace evolve from an industrial wasteland to a haven for wildlife. I feel lucky to have seen these changes.”
Volunteers come from all walks of life and commit as much or little time as they can. Some attend a conservation day every couple of months while others are out several days a week. It’s a brilliant way to meet new people, become or stay active, enjoy the fresh air and learn new skills.