Just in time for National Volunteer Week, two people recently marked the end of 1,000 hours of volunteer service at Warwickshire County Council’s Hartshill Hayes Country Park.

Tony Beck and Lee Charnell recently received certificates from the Country Park Rangers for reaching this fantastic milestone and in recognition of their outstanding commitment to supporting a valuable community asset.

Volunteer Week takes place from June 1-7 each year and celebrates the contribution that people like Tony and Lee make across the UK through volunteering.

Tony was born in Finham, Coventry, in 1945 and attended Bagington Primary and Leamington Spa secondary schools before becoming an apprentice pattern maker in 1960 with Vulcan Patterns, where he produced work for British Aerospace. After completing his apprenticeship he worked in the business for over 30 years and was made a Freeman of the City of Coventry.

Tony decided to volunteer at Harshill Hayes Country Park after attending a Fungi event in 2012, and has since developed a range of skills ranging from forest management, conservation and habitat management.

When asked why he enjoyed volunteering at the park, Tony replied, “I love the social aspect and meeting other like-minded people, good jokes and bad jokes.”

Lee Charnall, the other famous volunteer, has been helping out at Hartshill Hayes Country Park on and off since 1984, appearing in numerous newspaper articles about the park over the years. After completing his studies, Lee worked in the kitchens of Daw Mill Colliery until the site closed. He too has developed many skills related to the management and conservation of woodlots that are essential to the preservation of our woodlots for future generations.

Country Parks rangers manage the upkeep of the parks and are busy helping visitors and organizing a wide range of activities and events. They are always looking for people to help them with all aspects of maintaining Warwickshire’s nature parks, from habitat management to planting trees, from laying hedges to installing benches .

Volunteering is a great way to give back to your local community while benefiting your mental wellbeing and boosting your resume. Rangers are currently seeking help at Kingsbury Water Park, Ryton Pools, Hartshill Hayes and Pooley National Parks. Those interested in volunteering their time to help out at any of the parks can contact [email protected] or telephone 01827 872660.

Warwickshire Country Parks also offers volunteering opportunities for companies wishing to do practical work on various community responsibility projects. On Wednesday May 25, 27 Waterman Group volunteers worked tirelessly alongside the Country Park Rangers to build a new walkway at Kingsbury Water Park and clear overgrown shrubbery around the Phil Drabble Nature Trail. It was the third time the group had visited the Country Parks, having offered their enthusiastic support to Ryton Pools Country Park and Kingsbury Water Park in previous years.

You can find more information about all volunteering opportunities on the National Parks website.

A new wooden bridge installed by volunteers at Kingsbury Water Park.  The bridge crosses a small stream and is surrounded by trees.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: ‘Our spectacular country parks would not be the same without the continued support of people like Tony and Lee, who give their time to benefit others and help keep our beautiful green spaces. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate and thank them for their wonderful contribution to the maintenance of Hartshill Hayes National Park.

“Volunteering is not only a chance to give back to our local communities, it can also be a great opportunity to meet other people, develop skills, and it also offers benefits both for our well-being physical and mental.

“Warwickshire County Council continues to support the voluntary work done by individuals and community groups, working with organizations such as Warwickshire Community and Voluntary Action. Volunteer Week provides an opportunity to put the efforts of these usually unsung heroes in the spotlight and inspires us all to ask ourselves what more we could all do to give back to our communities.

Two volunteers help a Country Parks ranger manage lakeside habitat.

For more information on Warwickshire’s nature parks visit: www.countryparks.warwickshire.gov.uk or find us on Facebook.