Well – what a day – after all the preparation the great day had arrived when Foxearth Meadows would be formally opened, some two years after we had purchased the reserve through the generosity of A Rocha UK supporters
When I met up there with the Reserve Manager, Mark Prina over a year ago it was clear that this was going to be a special place. A further year on we were ready to open it up – with the final piece of the jigsaw in place, planning permission and funding for a parking area.
So, on May 13th as we gathered in the car park of a local factory to be bussed in, there was a real feeling of expectation. As we arrived it was clear than Mark and the team had done an amazing job in getting things ready, marquees erected, and hands-on wildlife experiences available through pond dipping, bird ringing, and dragonfly walks.
Over three hundred people turned up, many from the local wildlife and church communities, but also lots of A Rocha friends from far and wide, and even a busload from our urban nature reserve, Wolf Fields in Southall. A five-minute walk to the burger stand took forty-five minutes as I kept on meeting friends from the A Rocha family. I realised I probably knew half of the people there.
Numbers were even greater than we had expected and an extra bus had to be drafted in when the shuttle bus queue got too long.
Speeches were made, a huge ribbon was cut with the local MP and deputy mayor leading the way, and corks popped, but the most special moment for me was when a bench overlooking the reserve was dedicated to Keith Morris who had originally set the reserve up. The speech was given by Pavel Svetlik from A Rocha Czech and the deputy mayor prayed both for the bench but also for the reserve and those who would use it.
My wife Jean and I will be back on a quieter day – and hope many of you will be too.
You can support Foxearth Meadows by donating to our appeal – visit: justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/arochauk/fem17appeal