Further to the news item about a voluntary group to maintain the War Memorial gardens on Grange Hill, founder Derek Longman reports from a recent meeting:
On Thursday 20th September a public meeting was held at the TS Stork headquarters in Old Grange Road West Kirby.
The meeting was opened by Derek Longman who welcomed all and thanked the committee, officers and cadets of TS Stork for allowing their premises to be used that evening.
He produced a catalogue of photographs and gave a verbal description of the poor state of the memorial gardens to the west of the monument and that it was because of the continuing deterioration that led him and other like minded residents to determine to reverse this trend.
Mr Keith Hatton also addressed the meeting and was able to advise that the hill is formed on a sandstone outcrop and is designated a SBI (Site of Biological Importance). During a recent visit to the hillside some relict heather populations had been found that are an important part of the original native vegetation characteristic of the site. This heather was now in danger of being completely lost by invasion of bracken. A healthy population of common lizards were also noted as being present on the site.
A question raised was why a ‘Friends Group’ needed to be formed, could volunteers just work on the hill with Council Rangers.
The meeting was advised that whilst the local authority did recognise the hillside as being a SBI and have moved Grange Hill into the sphere of control of the Mid-Wirral team. The team by their own admission have found it hard to maintain the site, due to constraints imposed on it. Other sites such as Caldy Hill, Heswall Dales and Thurstaston Common take priority. Thurstaston Common is managed jointly with the National Trust.
Therefore if the deterioration of the whole area was to be arrested, volunteer workers would need to found and an organising committee formed so that it could on behalf of the volunteers seek formal recognition by the local authority and other relevant bodies. It would also set out to raise funds for equipment for the work.
The majority of those attending the meeting volunteered to assist in the work required. Offers of assistance from all the local cadet forces and a Girl Guides group were made. Whilst Natural England does not manage or oversee Grange Hill, the ‘Friends of Grange Hill’ would endeavour to work within similar management constraints that apply to sites they do oversee.
Others were prepared to assist in raising funds for the ‘Friends of Grange Hill’.
From all those present eight put themselves forward to stand as Committee members for the ‘Friends of Grange Hill’. All were unanimously elected.
Derek Longman thanked all for their time, support and for confirming that they were prepared to volunteer to work on this project.
Following the public meeting a quorum of those elected held the inaugural meeting of the Friends of Grange Hill. A Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were elected as well a director of works who will be the groups guide in its work to maintain the gardens and preservation of the natural lowland heath. Ms Victoria Doran was appointed director to advise on the maintenance of the footpaths.
A bank account is shortly to be opened in the name of ‘Friends of grange Hill’ with the HSBC at West Kirby.
If anyone would like to make any donations to this organisation they may do so by making cheques payable to;-
Friends of Grange Hill.