The annual general meeting (AGM) is always an opportunity to celebrate MWHG's achievements over the previous year, look ahead at future planned projects, and to thank our hard-working volunteers. This AGM was particularly important, as the Group celebrated the start of it's 25th year. 30 members and volunteers attended the Saturday morning AGM, on November 5th, to do just that.
Introductions and thank-yous
The Group welcomed David Gilbey, MWHG's newest Trustee, to their first AGM. David's expertise in digital marketing, passion for conservation, and experience with other charities, will be invaluable to our Group.
The AGM also allowed our members and volunteers to thank Gina Scott, who has stepped down from the role of Trustee. As a long-term Trustee and dedicated volunteer, Gina contributed to Group at all levels, including one of our earliest volunteering groups, the ASHE group, which inspired action for wildlife in Almodington, Sidlesham, Highleigh, and Earnley. Gina's love and knowledge for flora will remain in the Group, as she continues on as a member.
Time was set aside at the AGM to remember those individuals who dedicated their time and support to MWHG, which were sadly lost this year.
Long-standing volunteer and key contributor to the East Beach Pond (EBP) Group, Dave Haldane will be greatly missed by our members and volunteers. Dave's landscaping expertise and enthusiasm for wildlife, shared by his wife Anne, drove the development of East Beach Pond, which has become a flourishing and much beloved community space. Pictured on the left, Dave (centre-left) is celebrated for receiving the Community Champion Award from the South & South-East In Bloom Award.
In May of 2022, we also saw the passing of MWHG President, Richard Williamson. Richard lived a life dedicated to active work in nature conservation, including managing Kingley Vale Nature Reserve for many years. Later in life, Richard became renowned for his column in the Chichester Observer newspaper, where he spoke-up for the environment and highlighted MWHG's conservation work. Richard was also integral in ensuring that wildlife-rich sites on the Manhood Peninsula were given special protections.
A new MWHG project, the Selsey Pollinator Highway project, was launched in May of this year. Working in partnership with West Sussex County Council, the project supports insects, such as bees and butterflies, by planting-up and re-wilding sparse local environments. So far, three public sites in Selsey have been transformed from mown lawns to mini-wildflower meadows.
Thanks to the volunteers of the West Wittering Tree Nursery (WWTN) project, our tree saplings survived the long dry summer and the team were able to expand the tree nursery, ready to hold even more saplings next year! The successful start of the WWTN project has enabled MWHG to source another plot of land for a tree nursery in Selsey, which will be developed soon.
The Wittering Area Community Conservation project is fortunate to have a steadfast team of volunteers. At the AGM, special thanks were given to the individuals who topped the list for recorded volunteering hours. A noted highlight for the project was the successful expansion of MWHG's popular Corporate Volunteering Days, which enabled substantial tree planting and pond restoration work to be carried out in short time-frames.
In 2022, the Selsey Tramway project launched the new 'Walk The Selsey Tram Way' leaflet, alongside it's interactive online counterpart. Most of the information boards designed to line the walkable route of the historic Tramway, which ran between Chichester and Selsey, have now been installed.
MWHG is now 25 years old and our projects are continuing to grow, thanks to our fantastic volunteers. If you'd like to get involved, please subscribe to our volunteering opportunities and consider taking up the following available volunteering positions:
East Beach Pond Group Volunteer (Learn more)
Selsey Photo Archive Group Facebook Volunteer (Learn more)
We are also looking for Trustees who are keen to help us conserve wildlife and heritage on the Manhood Peninsula (Learn more).