Volunteering: Sand Dune Restoration, Lytham St. Annes, Lancashire 2024

“Making our way to Lytham St Anne’s, Blackpool we weren’t really sure what to expect.

Having never done any similar volunteer work before, I didn’t know what the process would be, how many people would be there or how the wind & rain on this rather grey day would impact things. Any worries were unfounded though, as we were greeted by a friendly bunch from the Flyde Sand Dunes project, who welcomed us heartily with some tea & biscuit and all the necessary equipment.

After a short wait for more volunteers, we were given our instructions; to help create new sand dunes by recycling past their prime Christmas Trees (donated with help from the local council) in trenches along the beach. Thousands of the trees were to be buried, 2/3 sticking out of the sand and pointing towards the sea at a 45° angle.

The sand blown around by the wind would catch in the trees and over time create a flourishing ecosystem and serve as natural barriers against powerful waves & windy storms.  It was truly impressive and motivating to see over 200 volunteers helping such a noble cause, and even more were to join us throughout the day.

Everyone pitched in and spirits were high as we quickly found a job, whether it was putting the trees into place in the sand, digging more trenches or carrying the trees from the piles laid across the beachfront. While I’m not great with a spade, I found myself greatly enjoying the latter task, as well as collecting all the leftover plastic, as many trees still had remnant Christmas decorations, stands and netting attached.

It was amazing seeing the swift progress the team made and we soon had to wait for more trenches from the excavators and a fresh delivery of trees to keep us all active in the cold and windy conditions.

We even had a film crew from Sky News take videos and interviews of the volunteers which really helped invigorate us further. Ross even made it into the Blackpool Gazette!

There was a very strong communal feeling, as we were all working towards a common goal and everyone was doing their part. The staff was very helpful and guided as along, they were very appreciative of everyone’s effort of giving up their time.

The day went by in a flash and despite my arms hurting & my legs being stiff by the end, it was a great experience, which I’m very grateful to have made.

I’m looking forward to go back next year and see how the dunes have come along.”

From Brandon Hire Station Manchester there were Dan Sillitto & Nick Steedman from National & Regional Accounts Team and Will Robinson from Strategic Accounts Team. From Groundforce Shorco there was Aneta Szypula – Compliance Coordinator, Georgia Hardman – Commercial Buyer. And finally from Torrent Trackside, we had Carl Abraitis – Operations Director and Ross Dickinson – Regional Account Manager both back for a second year running.

Author: Dan Sillitto


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