Volunteers are the pick of the bunch

Street Pride volunteers have been praised by Fenland District Council.
Street Pride volunteers have been praised by Fenland District Council.
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GLOWING tributes have been paid to the “staggering” contribution made by the growing army of Street Pride volunteers across the district.

Paul Medd, Fenland District Council’s Chief Executive, told a gathering of more than 80 people at Street Pride’s annual celebration last week: “At the last count Street Pride had 205 active volunteers – that’s effectively another workforce. And over the past year you have staged 212 events and put in more than 4,000 hours of work.

“Since its inception Street Pride has held 692 separate events and totted up a total of 11,818 volunteer hours. That is absolutely staggering.”

Street Pride groups are now established in eight places – Chatteris, Gorefield, Leverington, March, Manea, Parson Drove, Whittlesey and Wisbech.

Mr Medd praised the vital role they played in improving Fenland’s environment, saying it was “hugely appreciated both by us at FDC and by the whole community”.

Street Pride had also been the inspiration behind the formation of Friends groups for March Railway Station, Norwood Road Nature Reserve and Station Road Cemetery, he said. In addition, significant work had been done with schools and other organisations such as Network Rail, Delfland Nurseries, Facet and the Probation Service.

He concluded: “You should be really proud of what you do. We are - and we want to say a massive and genuinely heartfelt thank-you to you all.”

His words were echoed by Councillor Peter Murphy, FDC’s portfolio holder responsible for the environment. “You go out in all sorts of weather - rain and snow,” he said. “Keep up the good work because by golly you don’t half make this bit of my job easy!”

Cllr Murphy presented a series of awards (see panel) as well as a cheque for £500 to the Leverington group, the latest to be formed, to help with its start-up costs.

Whittlesey got the award for the most events held in and around the town over the past year - 32. Its most recent project was the installation of a renovated plough in Plough Street. The surrounding bed will be planted up later this month.

Sue Elam, from the Chatteris group, said that Street Pride set an important example to the rest of the community: “If other people see you doing the work, it pricks their conscience,” she said.