‘Fantastic’ response to Geoff Pollard memorial crowdfunding appeal

The late Geoff Pollard in the West Park Nature Reserve where an engraved granite bench is to be placed in his memory. (Photo via Uckfield Town Council)

Uckfield Town Council has been “blown away” by the response to an appeal for donations towards a memorial to late countryside ranger Geoff Pollard.

More than £2,000 has been received towards an engraved granite bench which will be placed in West Park Nature Reserve

Geoff died in June last year aged 54. He had worked with the council for five-and-a-half-years, carrying out conservation work in the town’s two local nature reserves (Hempstead Meadows and West Park), ancient woodlands and sites of key wildlife and biodiversity such as Harlands Pond.

Knowledge

He had a wealth of knowledge and expertise in conservation management with more than 25 years experience.

A crowdfunding page was set up by the town council in October 2020 with a link to it circulated to residents, volunteers, work colleagues and partner agencies, to enable those who knew Geoff to make contributions if they wished.

The council was then to make up any shortfall in the cost of the memorial bench.

Fantastic support

A report to the environment and leisure committee which is due to meet on Tuesday says: “The town council was blown away by the fantastic support and good wishes received.

“Donations were received from family members, residents, volunteers, staff, councillors, and organisations such as the Rotary Club of Uckfield, which we’re all very much appreciated.”

In addition ten Uckfield Town Council staff took part in a virtual mission to walk, cycle, or dance their way from Lands End to John O’Groats, over a one-month period, covering 838 miles to boost fund-raising.

Funding

The total donated towards funding the bench now stands at £2,110.10. The total cost of the bench, and installing it, will be £2,650.

Derek Tourle Memorials is to supply the Ananthurpur Mid Grey Granite polished and engraved bench and town council grounds staff will help with transporting it to the nature reserve.

Two sites were considered for the location, both with nice views. One is beneath an oak tree overlooking “the rabbit field”. The other is at the top of the nature reserve overlooking “the secondary sheep field”.

Location

The report to the committee says option one is the preferred location due to vehicle access, views, and thoughts of where Geoff would like the bench following consultation with the West Park Local Nature Reserve Supporters Group.

This option was agreed at the meeting of town councillors.

Wording on the bench will be agreed in connection with Geoff’s family, the nature reserve supporters group and colleagues.

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