John’s pond to become a reality at beauty spot

Friday 27th July 2018

photo John Faulkner

A pond in memory of a local teacher and naturalist will shortly become a reality on Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Hauxley nature reserve thanks to two cash donations and a grant from Northumberland County Council.

John Almond, a teacher at Amble County Secondary School and latterly, Amble Middle School, had a long association with the reserve on Druridge Bay when his Duke of Edinburgh group in Amble provided the ‘muscle’ to move barrow loads of soil to create banks around the lake; he also took school groups to the reserve, taking great delight in the enjoyment of his pupils in the great outdoors.

Following his death on his 70th birthday on 12 December 2017, John’s friends from the Alnwick & District Natural History Society and the Environmental Walking Partnership donated £1,000 towards the creation of a new wildlife friendly pond in his memory at the Trust’s award winning Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre.

Still with a shortfall, the wildlife charity applied for grant funding from Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest Scheme and has received news this week that it has been awarded the £1,000 required to create the lasting memorial to such a local nature lover.

With work scheduled to start next week, the ground for the pond will be dug by Pegswood based contractor WL Straughan & Son Ltd followed immediately by members of the Hauxley Volunteer Group who will plant flag iris, water forget-me-nots and pondweeds to attract dragonflies, damselflies, pond beetles, newts and butterflies amongst others.

Once established, the pond will be a great place for wildlife spotting by people of all ages and will be an excellent over-wintering site for frogs and toads.

Cllr Nick Oliver, cabinet member for corporate services at Northumberland County Council, said: “The Community Chest Fund is of great benefit to local community groups and organisations like Northumberland Wildlife Trust, who wish to enhance their services for the benefit of the local community.

“The scheme helps the council to support voluntary and community groups in delivering their activities and this wildlife friendly pond is a great example of something that I am sure will be enjoyed by visitors and local residents alike. It is particularly nice that this project recognises someone who enjoyed visiting the reserve."

Sheila Sharp, Head of Marketing and Fundraising at Northumberland Wildlife Trust said: “The support from Alnwick Wildlife Group, John’s loved ones and Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest Scheme is very much appreciated and I am certain that once the pond is established it will be a very interesting place to sit next to and wildlife spot - a lasting legacy to a man who appreciated the local green spaces.”