VOLUNTEERS in Tameside who give up their time to help keep the borough clean and green have been recognised.
Tameside Council’s Greenspace Service – responsible for managing the borough’s countryside and greenspace – held an event for volunteers as a gesture of thanks.
Last year, 143 Greenspace volunteers contributed 3,154 days, a total of 18,000 hours, between them.
And two volunteers have been presented with 40-year service awards after clocking up an impressive four decades of service.
The event at Park Bridge Heritage Centre in Ashton, which included food and drink, was part of National Volunteers’ Week. The initiative is organised as a chance to say thank you for the fantastic contribution millions of volunteers make across the UK.
The volunteers have also backed Tameside Council’s Our Streets campaign, which is bringing the local authority and public together to create a cleaner, greener, safer borough.
Of all ages and abilities, the volunteers undertake a wide variety of tasks from clearing footpaths and leading guided walks to litter picking and tree planting.
This year, Volunteers’ Week is about volunteering for all – celebrating the huge range of people who give their time in so many ways.
Joyce Williamson and Norman Bamforth have both volunteered with Greenspace for 40 years.
Joyce (69), from Heyrod, did a degree in environmental science, going on to work as a teacher and college lecturer, and while volunteering has written a City & Guilds Course on Countryside Management and a Vocational Degree for Greenspaces Management and Ecology.
She said: “I used to bring students doing NVQs to do a day’s conservation to get experience. I enjoy getting out and doing the hard work. It’s been a wonderful experience and the friends I have made and the people I have met have been wonderful.
“This event is lovely as it’s given us a chance to meet and see people.”
Norman’s brother Alan Bamforth (74), from Audenshaw, has been volunteering for Greenspace for 42 years.
He said: “I enjoy every minute, even picking up litter. I have always liked the outdoors. It doesn’t feel any different than when I set out, the time just drifts by.”
Cllr Allison Gwynne, Tameside Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “I’d like to thank each and every volunteer in Tameside for the really valuable work they’ve done towards maintaining and improving the borough. They’ve shown incredible dedication in giving up their time and it’s much appreciated by the council and residents.
“And what a wonderful achievement in devoting 40 years, and more, to volunteering and still continuing to help the environment and others.”