A little later than planned, the next series of blogs will be written by Mark Richards, Head Warden for National Trust countryside in the east of the Surrey Hills. This week he writes about his dedicated volunteers and shares a personal favourite memory.

I always look forward to Thursday’s as it means working with my volunteers, the Limpsfield Voluntary Task Force. The group have been established for over 25 years. At the moment we have 35 in the group, and some of them have been with us for over 20 years. 

The volunteers have helped us with many projects over the years on Limpsfield Common, from the construction of a pond to the restoration of a Second World War air raid shelter. Last year alone they gave us over 2,400 hours of their time. Over the last few weeks they have been helping us re-plant an area of woodland with young oak and beech trees, but their favourite task has to be anything involving a bonfire – the bigger the better.

At exactly 10.15am on a Thursday morning the word “coffee” can be heard as it’s shouted across the worksite by the group’s leader Derek Horn. Everyone puts downs their tools and normally conjugates close to fire to discuss the latest goings on locally as well as further a-field while enjoying a hot cup of coffee from their flasks. Before you know it though Derek is telling them they have had a long enough coffee break and that they need to get back to work.

After a hard morning’s work the majority of the group head off to the local pub to have a well deserved drink and continue to their discussions from earlier in the morning.

The most memorable time for me with regards the volunteers is when they provided a guard of honour at my wedding. It was such a privilege to walk out of the church and go under a tunnel of slashers held high by my volunteers.

The volunteers at my wedding

As well as this volunteer group we have got two other groups that meet on a Tuesday at Reigate and on a Wednesday at Outwood near Redhill. If you are interested in joining any of these groups please email Mark Richards at mark.richards@nationaltrust.org.uk