Monday, July 17th 2017
We are home finally, and Foxglove 25 is over! It seems like we have been planning it and preparing forever.
It has been the most successful event we have ever held at Foxglove in 25 years. Yesterday, the weather was not over kind, but even so we were spared a soaking! It was dull and damp but workable; today has been perfect and we have much to be grateful for.
On Saturday we started out with a highly successful moth trapping session despite the weather, and then we entertained 17 VIPs. That they chose to come, in itself speaks volumes; but with the help of the caterers, the guides, and the exhibits we had on display I know they all had an interesting and entertaining time. From comments made to me privately at the time, and from texts and emails since, I know many of them were pleased to be there and to have the opportunity to support us. Many were very surprised at the personalities who joined them, and it is a credit to you all that they chose to. More would have been there had it not been for prior commitments that were set in concrete, but we should be very pleased with the final outcome.
Today was icing on the cake, with the greatest number of visitors I have ever seen on the reserve. I have no idea exactly how many were there but things will become clearer during the week. Suffice it to say the monies taken at the gate and on Ann Hall's food stall surpassed substantially anything we have ever done previously. The reserve was full this afternoon of generally well-behaved people with a real interest in natural history and the environment. The discussions held and the obvious interest of several nice children was great to see. I could go on forever. Double the people we expected attended the BBQ.
You have all heard it said many times before but we could do nothing like this without the good will, commitment, regular attendance and sheer hard work of the volunteers, and the determination and endeavour of our staff. Days like these, with so many different facets and concurrent activities don't happen easily. The reserve looked pristine and was/is a credit to you all. On Saturday I received endless comments about many different aspects of the reserve and none at all were negative. What else would you expect you might say ….. well there is a way of knowing whether people are being sincere or waffling, and I detected none of the latter. What was said and the way it was said was pretty convincing.
We planned this, together we gave up numerous dark evenings last winter, and between the Staff, Volunteers and Management Group we made it happen. Through out media contacts we reached 'Look North', and already there are newspaper articles being produced with photographs taken by various friends, and there are many more to come. Several people quizzed me today assuming a large financial profit from the weekend was what we were seeking. Entirely wrong! What we wanted and what we achieved was to raise the profile of the reserve and let others see the great things that go on there for free, and the great people that work there. Every single contributor, from the tree climbers to the moth-ers, the ringers, the lepidopterists, the horse loggers, the exhibitors and chefs - all played a key and valuable role.
I have to mention Lord Zetland. Not many of you will be aware of the generous support he gave us and he would not thank me if I went into detail, but he made several promises at the AGM and he more than kept every one of them - at considerable personal expense, and we are indebted to him.
I could go on forever with superlatives and further examples. I hope you will have got the message!
This was a major team effort. Together we successfully hosted HM The Queen's representative in North Yorkshire, our MP, our Patron, the recently retired Chief of the Defence Staff - the senior serviceman in the country, the CEO of Richmondshire District Council and 12 other high ranking military and civilian officers. Together, we successfully hosted many hundreds of people from this area of North Yorkshire. This afternoon at times the Royal Lancers square was full - there was no spare parking available!
As he was leaving yesterday the Lord Lieutenant said to me - and with his background he should know better than anyone: 'If your project - whatever it is - is credible and successful, you always attract the right sort of volunteers'. Well…..I leave you to ponder that!
On behalf of Sophie, who is peering over my shoulder offering advice on my grammar, the Management Group, and Foxglove, I thank every one of you who had anything to do with the success of this weekend, I thank you most sincerely for your contribution no matter how big or little it was, and I ask you please to pass this on to those for whom I have no email address so that they too can see how grateful we all are.
Best wishes. t.
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