Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s £1m Broads Appeal reaches half-way milestone
PUBLISHED: 14:31 07 April 2017
Suffolk Wildlife Trust has reached the half-way milestone in its ambitious campaign to raise £1million for the creation of a vast new nature reserve in the Broads National Park.
The £500,000 point in a project to expand the trust’s Carlton and Oulton Marshes nature reserve, near Lowestoft, was marked yesterday in an emotional and poignant presentation.
Personally supported by Sir David Attenborough, the campaign has reached its half-way stage thanks to a grant of £33,333 from the Edward and Ivy Rose Hood Memorial Trust.
The donation was made in memory of the local couple, who both loved Carlton Marshes and were captivated by the landscapes of the Broads. At a moving ceremony at the Carlton Marshes visitor and education centre off Burnt Hill Lane, Carlton Colville, yesterday, Edward (Ted) Hood’s sister-in-law, Barbara Hood, presented a cheque for the amount to the wildlife trust.
Mrs Hood described Ted and Ivy as “true Broadland people.”
“They would be absolutely delighted to contribute to such a wonderful local cause,” she said. “They would have loved it, I have no doubt about that.”
The couple had married in Middlesex in 1957 and ran a successful family engineering business in the Lowestoft area for many years, said Mrs Hood.
“They were a private couple in many ways but they did a lot in the community. They did a lot but they weren’t high-profile - they did it all quietly. They were private people but they were Broads people - they loved the Broads.”
Battersea-born Ivy, especially, was a keen naturalist with wildlife being one her main loves among a wide array of interests that included adult education - for which she was honoured by the University of East Anglia in 1993 with a Master of Arts Honoris Causa degree. She was a founder member of the Lowestoft branch of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Broads Society Southern Rivers Committee, said Mrs Hood.
She was also highly respected for other community work, which included sterling service to the Lowestoft Literary and Scientific Association and the local musical and cultural scene.
She died in 1995 and Ted died last year, at the age of 94.
The £1m campaign aims to enable the trust to buy Peto’s Marsh and Share Marsh, totalling 384 acres, as well as smaller areas to add to its existing 627-acre reserve. The purchase is the biggest attempted in the trust’s 55-year history and 2,781 people have so far donated to the appeal.
Launched in October last year, the campaign began after the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) approved the trust’s initial plans for the land purchase, together with proposals to improve the reserve for visitors and develop wide-ranging activities for people to learn about nature and get closer to wildlife.
The HLF has awarded the trust a development grant of £246,300 to work on the detailed plans necessary to secure a full grant of £4m for the project. The trust’s appeal will go towards match- funding that grant.
Christine Luxton, the trust’s head of development, said the generosity and enthusiasm shown for the charity’s vision to create what it sees as “wildness as far as the eye can see” was “inspiring.”
Sir David Attenborough is certainly excited about the prospect of the new reserve.
He has said: “England’s wildlife is under great and ever-growing pressure. It is vital that we restore our land on a landscape scale so that it can support more wild plants and animals. Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s ambition to extend Carlton and Oulton Marshes is a unique opportunity to do just that and it has my whole-hearted support.”
If the campaign is successful, a new reedbed - the largest in the Broads - would be created to support breeding marsh harriers and bitterns and other reedbed specialists such as grasshopper warbler and white-mantled wainscot moth - a species that in the UK has only been found in Suffolk.
A seven-mile network of restored freshwater ditches would be among the best in the UK, allowing Broadland specialists including scarce plants, water voles and the rare fen raft spider to spread across the landscape.
More than 150 acres of marsh, fen meadow and shallow pools are planned, with thousands of metres of muddy edges to benefit wintering wildfowl and nationally declining waders such as lapwing and redshank.
Campaign donations can be made at www.suffolkwildlifetrust.org and marsh harrier tee-shirts designed by Sam Foley are now on sale in support of the appeal.
‘I’ll be out there on the marshes with Ted’
When Ricky Cone makes his first visit to the extended Carlton Marshes nature reserve, he will feel a special closeness to a friend to whom he said a heartbreaking final farewell last year.
It will be an emotional moment for Mr Cone as he honours the memory of his “great mate” Ted Hood. “I’ll sit down on the marshes and Ted will be there with me. I’ll have a little word with him and whenever I visit the marshes I’ll think of him,” he said.
Mr Cone cared for Mr Hood in his final years, often crossing from his home on one side of Gilpin Road, Oulton Broad, to Ted’s house on the other to be with him.
Ted died aged 94 and his wife Ivy died in 1995. A legacy gift to the trust’s appeal has been made by the Edward and Ivy Rose Hood Memorial Fund that honours their long life together. They loved nature, said Mr Cone, who added: “ I’ll be with Ted again when I’m out on the marshes.”
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