CHAIR'S REPORT 2016(The report given by Nikki Gibson, Chair, The Friends of the Wick Country Park to the AGM, January 15th 2017)
This is my 3rd Chair's report and it was hard to think how to make it interesting and to keep you all awake especially after the hot mulled wine and mince pies.
Each year the committee works extremely hard to organise events and each year they grow in popularity. So one of my ideas was to read out last year's report with just some extra adjectives thrown in! Amazing! Spectacular! Awesome! came to mind. But then I had a light bulb moment, why don't I go through the year backwards! No one has ever done that! Well OK ........ not so earth shattering but quirky at least!
Our most recent event was the Big Weed and Clean, we didn't do it for the Queen we did it for the Park, the wildlife and the visitors. There is a proposal for a second one in February - and judging by how much people enjoyed the first I don't think we will have a lack of volunteers.
This is probably a good time to mention the Wick Weeders. Every 2nd and 4th Monday a small but determined group attack the weeds in the Pavilion Garden.
In September we held the Kite Festival. Each year we are superbly supported at this event by both the Essex Kite Group and the South Eastern Classic Car Club. This year we had in addition the Treehouse Forestry Nursery with their popular 'mud-kitchen'. A winning combination!
In August we celebrated the 50th Edition of Skylarks with a Picnic in the Park. Although we encourage everyone to contribute, the editing falls solely on Christine and what an excellent job she does, thank you.
I personally wasn't able to attend the Cricket and Dragonfly afternoon in August but I hear it was possibly a little too popular for the numbers of committee members available. So until such time as we have the manpower with the relevant knowledge sadly we are putting this event on hold this year.
The event which focuses on children and wildlife and my personal favourite is Nature Quest, which took place in July. We had the amazing sum of 23 volunteers supporting the committee with this hands on event. We added 3 new challenges so the big question is what are we going to do this year to keep up the high standard we have set ourselves.
During the Spring and Summer committee member Peter Bates and the Pitsea Running Club hold two 3K races round the park. The committee provide refreshments and some marshalling. We are grateful to Pitsea Running club for their generous donations which really help our bank balance.
Paws in the Park is one of our long standing and most popular events of the year attracting the biggest crowds. In addition to the committee the key players are Michelle on the Mic, Chris on the sound system, Annabel providing and manning the tombola and Sue growing and running the plant stall. We are especially indebted to them and all the other wonderful helpers who make our events possible.
Early in Spring, Mark, our long-suffering Park Ranger, led us on a merry dance ....... oops I mean bird spotting walk! It is always amazing how many species Mark is able to identify, this year we saw or heard 27 different species of bird.
2016 started, as 2017 will, with our very popular Quiz Night, when again Michelle is let loose behind the microphone. Her varied and well-pitched questions ensure this is always a great night which hopefully no one takes too seriously.
I think it is customary now to make some comment about the committee (or am I getting confused with wedding speeches?) For some Chairs this might be quite difficult but for me it is straightforward - they are without a doubt a most hardworking and supportive bunch of people to whom the Park and the local community owe a debt of gratitude.
My final comments are to thank Mark for his patience and I do invite everyone here to put themselves forward to join the committee - you won't regret it, I don't, ....... well only occasionally!
The Friends of the Wick Country Park