Norwich Community Green Gym volunteers rewarded for their efforts

A team of hardy conservation volunteers have been rewarded for their determined work in preserving green spaces and wildlife habitats around Norwich.

Members of the Norwich Community Green Gym braved an April downpour on St James' Hill at Mousehold Heath to be presented with T-shirts and certificates by the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Jenny Lay, and the Sheriff of Norwich, Chris Higgins.

The group, which has been an independent organisation since 2010, helps volunteers to gain the health benefits of working outdoors.

But their work has also been instrumental in boosting conservation projects across the city – particularly at Mousehold Heath, where tasks including heathland restoration, footpath maintenance and ecological surveys have played a key role in the area's management plan.

Will Stewart, a warden at Mousehold Heath, said: 'The Green Gym teams are always made up of hard-working, enthusiastic and dedicated people who volunteer to make a positive difference to their community. It has been a pleasure working with the groups and their determination to get the work done, in all weather conditions, is highly commendable.'

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Mrs Lay said she was keen to thank all the volunteers for their work 'in and around the city, preserving the diverse habitats we have inherited, and creating new ones.'

Presentations were made to volunteers Ernie Woodrow, Luke Cates, Tom Roberts, Becky Millett, Ceinwen Fidler, George Spencer, Terri Metcalfe, Robert Blackley and Pam Cranston, while other contributions from office administrator George Bacon, driving and tools officer Perry Harvey, treasurer Dave Goulty and assistant Marya Parker were also recognised.

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Ernie Woodrow, the group's chairman and task co-ordinator, picked up a certificate for carrying out 300 tasks in the last thee years.

The 63-year-old retired park worker from Shorncliffe Avenue in Mile Cross said he had personal experience of the health benefits of working outdoors.

'I have arthritis in my neck and shoulder, and this makes a big difference to me,' he said. 'I haven't been to the doctor once in the last three years.

'The ethos is to get people outside, especially people with health problems, to work in the fresh air. They get exercise and they help the environment, which they benefit from a great deal.

'We have got some very hardy characters. But there is no criteria at all to volunteer. People can just turn up and we will supply them with tools and supplies and tea and coffee.'

?To volunteer for the Green Gym, contact Mr Woodrow on 01603 767300, 07776 120570 or

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