24 July 2017
Colin Gray of Green Flag Award winning Fleet Pond has been named as England's Volunteer of the Year for 2017. Colin has volunteered for the Fleet Pond Society for over 30 years and has been the Chairman for the last 17.
Over 15 years ago Colin had the vision for restoring Fleet Pond and has been the driving force in achieving his ambition to see the pond fully restored. Colin achieved this by not only securing funding of £30,000 and working with local and national organisations, but by project managing the complex and large scale restoration.
To achieve his ambition Colin brought together Natural England, The Ministry of Defense, The Environment Agency, Hart District Council and Thames Water. The work to get this project off the ground was considerable and Colin showed a great deal of initiative in taking this on as a volunteer.
Chairing the society which numbers over 450 members is time consuming but Colin still finds time to run activities for schools, youth groups and local businesses.
From small scale fundraising, by selling Christmas cards, to leading on the Societies "Clearwater Campaign" raising over £50,000 towards visitor provision at the pond, he has been instrumental in improving the Nature Reserve.
Green Flag Award Scheme Manager Paul Todd said, "It was a real privilege to meet Colin and present the Award for the 2017 Volunteer of the Year. His passion for Fleet Pond is infectious and his achievements have been rightly recognised. With volunteers like Colin we can feel confident that our green spaces will be protected for future generations"