Celebration of loyal Wakehurst volunteers

Some of the long-serving Wakehurst volunteers at the awards tea party. SUS-150326-165406001
Some of the long-serving Wakehurst volunteers at the awards tea party. SUS-150326-165406001

The achievements of a loyal team of over a hundred volunteers, with more than 400 years’ distinguished service between them, were celebrated at a ceremony at a Sussex botanic garden.

The many long-serving volunteers were presented with awards at Kew’s country estate during a ‘thank you’ afternoon tea party in the Elizabethan mansion.

“Volunteers play an important part in the running of Wakehurst, the 500-acre country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew”, explains Susan Allan the head of education.

“They assist with everything from science and conservation work, conducting our visitors on fascinating guided tours, helping with the growing number of school, college and university visits, carrying out horticultural tasks such as pruning and weeding, and helping with Kew’s biggest science project in the Millennium Seed Bank.”

During the last 12 months, the loyal volunteers at Wakehurst and in the Millennium Seed Bank have between them given a total of over fifteen thousand hours’ service to conservation and education.

The roll of honour comprised a total of 150 volunteers, among them 26 guides, six of whom were awarded for over 50 hours contribution, four for over a hundred hours and one for over 250 hours; nine Millennium Seed Bank explainers based in the public atrium exhibition, 16 volunteers who between them gave several thousand hours to support the Seed Bank science team by assisting with tasks such as seed cleaning, to enable the Seed Bank to store full and healthy seeds, and germination tests; 44 who assist Wakehurst’s botanical horticultural team, and 55 who enable educational visits to take place by supporting the teachers. One dedicated over 750 hours in the botanic gardens, three over 300 hours and seven over 200 hours each.

In recognition of the vital contribution made by volunteers, a number of long service awards for were made at the presentation. Two of the guides received awards for 15 years’ service with four of the education volunteers acknowledged for ten years’ service.

Susan Allan added, “We are so fortunate to have such a committed and enthusiastic team of volunteers prepared to devote time to make an invaluable contribution to the running of Wakehurst. No matter what the weather, they assist us in our science and conservation work and share their enthusiasm of Wakehurst with visitors of all ages.

Report and picture contributed by Trevor Butler PR.