Friends of Chichester Harbour celebrate 25 years

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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THEY have cared for and enhanced a beauty spot for the last quarter of a century.

So it was time to celebrate when members of Friends of Chichester Harbour gathered to mark the 25th anniversary of the group.

The current chairman, Bernard Clarke, joined four previous chairmen – John Willetts, Bill Woodburn, Martin Rhodes and David Rolph – for the party, which was held at The Stables, on Eames Farm, Thorney Island.

The Stables was recently converted by Chichester Harbour Conservancy from derelict farm buildings to an education centre.

The conversion was just one of hundreds of projects the Friends have financially supported over the past 25 years.

Brigadier Bill Woodburn, the third chairman, said: ‘I am proud to have been chairman in the early days when the charity had just a handful of members.

‘I have watched it grow over the years to the present 3,000 members, with new members joining every year.

‘Whether members can do no more than pay their small subscription every year or get actively involved in work parties and enjoy the special events organised for them, every member is valued.

‘We all regard as essential the need for the conservation of our beautiful Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty for the present and for future generations’.

Siún Cranny, director of the conservancy, said: ‘In the past year alone 41 work parties have been held with an average attendance of 22 friends. The Friends help with tree planting, coppicing, footpath resurfacing and litter picking. There are so many “unsung heroes” who unselfishly give of their time and energies.’