Foreword by Louise Lomax, SGCT Chair
It gives me much pleasure to write my first foreword as Chair of Severn Gorge Countryside Trust; it is an honour and privilege to take on such a role.
Since taking over as Chair I have come to appreciate how much the Trust relies on the support and help of volunteers and local residents, without whom, along with our highly professional contractors, we would struggle to manage the historic landscape to the high standard that is expected.
This year volunteers have contributed over 3,300 hours of their time to carry out a variety of tasks as diverse as building and installing bird boxes, coppicing, installing steps and
handrails and looking after sheep. Volunteers have also been involved in the Access to Nature Project, which has seen 27 green spaces benefiting from access improvements throughout Telford and the Ironbridge Gorge. The project is nearing its end now, and I would like to thank Cadi Price, our Access to Nature Partnership Officer, who has helped to make it such a successful programme of work and events.
This year has seen a considerable turnover of Trustees, with six out of sixteen departing and being replaced. These changes have been ably overseen by our Company Secretary, Kate Chetwood, who has provided inductions around the legal obligations of Trustees. Thank you to John Dixon, Jayne Greenaway, Clive Mollett, Bob Hill and Jacqui Seymour for their work with the Trust, and a particular tribute to Carol Cooper who chaired the Trust for five years with enthusiasm and efficiency. I would like to welcome Graham Bould, Jackie Loveridge, Chris Turley, Max Speke, David Edwards and Andrew Cooke. Trustees bring a wealth of experience over a range of disciplines which is much appreciated.
There have also been staffing changes this year, with Trainee Countryside Officer Julia Dunnett moving on to pastures new, and a welcome to Nathan Morris taking up a similar role. My thanks to all four members of staff who carry out their roles with dedication and good humour, and in particular to Russell Rowley, Trust Manager who has helped me to settle in to my role as Trust Chair.