Some of you will have noticed activity and even smoke around the Sandbanks. We are delighted to report that after months of boring old administration we have finally started work on restoring the area.
Within two weeks of completion of the lease, the first work party took place led by Gary Cragg of Nottinghamshire Wildlife trust.
In early January we held a public meeting to update the community on our plans and to encourage people to become members of the GNR Trust. The attendance was truly impressive, considering it was one of the coldest evenings of the winter, and resulted in some 32 new members. Representatives from Natural England and Saint Gobain addressed the meeting and were available to answer questions.
Up to mid February, some eight work parties have taken place both at weekends and, by popular demand, mid-week. Thanks to the many hardworking volunteers, an amazing amount of the grassland has been cleared of scrub. The bird nesting season is almost upon us now, restricting the work we will be able to do on site, but look out for our fund-raising projects over the coming months.
Why not become a member of the GNR Trust? It is free and you don’t have to be a ‘tree fella’ or volunteer for other jobs. Maybe you would be happy to do some litter picking, or help organise fund raising events, or offer your garden for ‘open gardens’. You could even come up around mid day on work party days with flasks of tea or coffee, or just stroll up and take an interest in what we’re doing. As a member you will be kept informed of all our activities and can have your say at our open meetings.
The Lease was signed after 5 ½ months of planning on Thursday 1st November 2012. Saint Gobain / British Gypsum have leased the ‘Sandbanks’ site to the Gotham Nature Reserve Trust in a 99 year lease. The Trustees will be inviting everyone to another Public Meeting when details will be explained about the restoration work that has to be done on the site, and how the working parties will be organised. As before, it will be an opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions about what is now ‘a piece of real estate that belongs to us — the community’ So why not become a member of this worthwhile organisation? It’s free, no subscription, but you’ll be kept in touch with what’s happening.
Our first fund raising effort was a ‘gardens open day’ on Sunday 24th June 2012 with tea and cakes in the Church Hall. It was well organised by Karen Steed and enjoyed by all who attended.
Many thanks to Andrew Vickers who led us on a well attended ‘Heritage Walk’ around the village, surrounding hills and paths, on Saturday 8th September 2012, explaining fascinating little-known facts, and history of our village which was all very interesting and well presented.
The Memorial Hall Chairman, Andrew Vickers, obtained some new play equipment for the Recreation Ground and several Trustees and some willing helpers painted it at Howick’s Farm and then installed it on the Recreation Ground – all in a day. After this great team effort, there is now £10,000 of playground equipment and it is all proving very popular.
At the coffee morning on the 26th October 2012 we had a visit from a team of professionals that gave a very interesting demonstration on what and how this valuable life saving equipment can do and how it does save lives. The AED is an Automated External Defibrillator; this piece of equipment is used to help restart the heart’s normal rhythm by passing an electric shock across the patient’s chest. Used alongside oxygen and in some cases medicines, this greatly increases the patient’s chances of a recovery.
NCT now has a defibrillator at the Gotham bus garage and starting in December driver Chris Nesbit based at Gotham will be trained as a Community First Responder and will be on call through EMAS to respond to emergency situation as and when required. The fact is that in the more rural and hard to reach areas of Nottinghamshire like Gotham the First responders have a much better chance of providing the immediate help needed prior to the arrival of an EMAS crew, through:
• Basic life support
• Use of a defibrillator
• Care of unconscious patient
• medical emergencies
• Minor Trauma
The defibrillator can be stored in a vandal proof metal cased box mounted in areas that are accessible to members of the public 24 hours a day. Should you require this equipment on phoning 999 the emergency services will know that this equipment is available for use and will give you the pin code over the phone to unlock it from the box. This code will then be changed every time it is used so that it stays safe ready for the next emergency. NCT are currently trying to raise funds for this storage box so that it can be mounted on the outside of the garage and will be covered by a cctv camera. The box cost in the region of £1,000 and this would be of great benefit to the community of Gotharn to help save lives in the village.
Gunner J. W. James died as a Prisoner of War on the infamous Burma Railway while serving his country with 155th Lanarkshire Yeomanry Field Regiment of the Royal Artillery. He died on 9th May 1943 aged only 25. His family live in Gotham and his Grandson, Simon, is the publican of the Star Inn.
Why do I tell this story? Well, unbeknown to me, Andrew Vickers, Chairman of the Memorial Hall Trustees, has for some years been investigating the lives and deaths of all the men and women on the Gotham War Memorial roll of honour. As part of this project Andrew has been visiting and photographing each of the graves of those men and women from Gotham who died in the First and Second World Wars. When he heard I was going to North Thailand over Christmas he asked me if I would lay a cross of remembrance on Gunner James’s grave, as this was one of the graves that he had not been able to visit. Andrew has been leaving a small cross at each grave or memorial with the wonderful words ‘A Gotham Cuckoo far from Home’. I was pleased to travel to The Commonwealth War Graves cemetery at Kanchanaburi, about 200 km west of Bangkok and complete this task. The cemetery is close to where the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai was built, though today there is only a metal bridge, and that is not at the same place as the original. A trip to the nearby museum brings home the feats that these men accomplished under the most diabolical conditions. Over 6,900 British, Dutch, Australian and Americans are buried in the cemetery.I also laid a cross from the Royal British Legion and another from the people of Gotham. It was an occasion that was very emotional and very sad. I was struck that the cemetery was so beautifully maintained and visited by so many people from all over the world, and therefore understood Rupert Brooke’s words: “There is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England”.Should anyone be traveling to Burma, Egypt, Germany, France or Norway. I am sure Andrew would be very pleased to hear from you especially if you would be prepared to visit a War Grave cemetery and complete the same task.
Andrew is passionate about his project and about the responsibility he bears in continuing the daily running of our village war memorial, which is the Memorial Hall and Recreation Ground. These are there for the villagers of Gotham to enjoy their lives: lives bought for them by the sacrifice of those on the roll. These brave people gave their lives so that we may be free and we should never forget them.