The Titchwell Nature Reserve has celebrated 100 years of volunteering for the RSPB by three dedicated conservationists.
Ray Kimber and Mike Barrett, both from Brancaster, have been volunteering for 35 years and Lynn resident David Lake for 30 years.
Mike, aged 92, was instrumental in the early 70s in helping shape the reserve that exists today.
He spent countless hours scything and raking reeds by hand. It was hard, heavy manual work but he loved every minute of it.
But his real passion is sharing his knowledge of wildlife and the reserve’s history with the thousands of visitors who come to Titchwell each year.
In those early years when Titchwell was developing as an RSPB reserve, avid birder Ray took on the role of manning the information desk in the visitor centre. In time he set up an avocet watch programme and began to lead guided walks.
At one point Ray was given the challenge of finding 300 different species of fauna and flora on one of his walks.
Having achieved this benchmark, the target was raised again and again until he finally laid the challenge to rest at 1,300 species.
Ray has spent 40 years watching and recording the birds, flora and other wildlife on the reserve.
His memories and anecdotes have been recorded in his book, Titchwell Tales. Ray’s commitment to nature conservation was recognised in 2013 when he became a recipient of the Norfolk Community Biodiversity award.
David, 80, began volunteering in 1986 when he took over leadership of the West Norfolk RSPB member’s group.
His passion for birding led him to Titchwell where he was offered a volunteer role in the visitor centre shop. David’s experience as manager for WH Smith has been put to good use over the years and the retail department has developed under his watchful eye.
The sterling work and contributions made by Mike, Ray and David were recognised on Tuesday at the annual volunteer BBQ when they received long service Awards from area manager Rob Lucking.
He said: “It has always been a pleasure to work with these three stalwarts of nature conservation and we look forward to many more years of volunteering.”