Phew! What a year that was. Following a successful AGM in February, Spring duly arrived and beautiful gardens appeared as if by magic across Rawtenstall. The hard work in designing, clearing, weeding and planting had finally paid off.
The Lone Rangers kept the area clear of litter and the initial trials with anti-dog poo stencils proved to be remarkably effective. Time to consolidate our position, welcome our new volunteers and congratulate ourselves on a job well done.
Hang on, what’s this? It’s the end of April and an email arrives to say we’ve won the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (the MBE for Volunteer Groups) but we can’t announce it until June 2nd! Try keeping a secret like that – we did, but only just!
Press and social media releases prepared, a radio interview organised and plans to find a democratic way of choosing 10 volunteers to represent us at the award ceremony in September and then at last, word is out! Facebook and Twitter responses were generous with their praise and support, the media gave us good coverage of the ceremony when the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Rt Hon the Lord Shuttleworth KG, KCVO presented the award together with a certificate signed by Her Majesty the Queen. We were conscious that the award had been won not just by the lucky ten or indeed just the current volunteers but by countless others as well who worked so hard but for may different reasons are no longer volunteers. A sincere thank you to you all.
A ‘Celebrating Community’ event in October enticed several members of sister groups to join local dignitaries and volunteers, even if Storm Brian did keep most of the public away!
Opened by Ted Robbins and attended by Jake Berry MP, Alyson Barnes, Leader of the Council and David Foxcroft, County Councillor, the presentation was made by the Mayor and Mayoress Councillor and Mrs Crawforth.
Without doubt the most talked about garden in the valley is the embankment opposite ASDA but thanks and congratulations to the 5 Secret Gardeners who entered the RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood competition and walked away with 4 Outstanding and one Thriving award! Congratulations also to our colleagues across the valley who were also successful.
We’ve added 14 new barrier baskets (and moved a few others) to make the area leading from the railway station to Bank Street more attractive for visitors arriving by train. The cost of replanting these twice yearly is huge and for this we rely on and warmly thank our marvellous sponsors without whom it would not be possible. If you know of anyone else who could sponsor us, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to enable us to continue our work.
Have you visited Trickett’s Memorial Ground in Waterfoot recently? About two years ago a couple of new volunteers started clearing the Mill End area of Waterfoot, including the Heys by collecting litter, cutting back overgrown hedges, weeding pavements and steps etc. Their numbers are growing and they’ve now turned their attention to Trickett’s; grants have been won and a 12 month campaign with the local Co-op has started (call in to Waterfoot Co-op for more details). This is a fantastic project but what will it be entered in the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ in 2018 I wonder?
Meanwhile just up the road in Whitewell Bottom a new team of volunteers cleared a huge banking of Himalayan Balsam and have now been frantically planting bulbs ready for the Spring.
It’s not all hard work though, a dozen hungry volunteers enjoyed convivial company on the ELR Red Rose Diner in October which was followed by the annual Christmas Shindig at the Whitaker. The restauarnt had been beautifully decorated, the food as usual was exceptional (quite a challenge for 28 people eating together) and the company congenial. Unfortunately the snow started soon after dinner finished which made for an interesting return home! We are a disparate bunch with only varying degrees of madness to connect us which is proven beyond doubt by some of our number who not only read the Weekly Witterings but even profess to enjoy them!
Civic Pride Rossendale AGM is at 6.30pm on February 20th 2018 at Rawtenstall Cricket Club, Bacup Road, Rawtenstall. Please get it in your diary, it’s the first important event of the year!
Congratulations to Weir Pride who have just completed their first full year with as much focuson the community as on litter and gardens. Having said that they picked up an ‘Advancing’ Award at the ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ presentations, planted scores of trees around Weir Park, hundreds of daffodils and tulips not to mention hanging baskets to brighten up the village. There’ve been lots of social activities with trips to the theatre, lunches, afternoon tea (cue little finger correctly raised) and even a spa day. Working closely with the primary school children who were presented with certificates, they even found time to involve themselves with nearby Bacup’s events. A new village noticeboard, a defibrillator and a knit and natter (S&B?) group round off a fantastic year. Well done one and all.
Haslingden Civic Pride really took off during 2017 by forming a committee, opening a bank account and positively chasing grants and sponsors. Having previously focussed on litter picking at which they’ve been extremely effective, they moved into gardening and successfully entered their garden outside the Green Squirrel on Manchester Road into the IYN competitionbeing awarded a ‘Thriving’ certificate. Plans are afoot to do more and currently they’re working on the gardens behind the library.
Bacup had a busy year resulting in far less litter, some lovely gardens, including The Wall of History garden on Yorkshire Street and Pride Corner (St James Square/Market Street) with yet another award for the IYN competition. Their plant pot festival attracted some unwelcome attention when one of their exhibits, Nellie the Elephant was stolen and then returned but in a rather sorry state.
Information on Bacup is limited because in common with the other groups they use Facebook, unlike the technophobic author of this letter!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our sponsors, volunteers and supporters. Without your continued support our valley would be a much poorer place. Thank you one and all.