New volunteers are needed to help maintain a town park after the current group which manages it dissolved recently.
The Friends of Witham Way Country Park, including chairman Peter Desforges, have put down their tools after 16 years working to transform the 38 acre park into what it is today.
Peter, 78, said the decision to hang up the gardening gloves was a ‘difficult’ one to make.
The move follows his reciept of the the Robert Lauberts Environmental and Community Award earlier this year.
The presentation was made after the judging tour for this year’s Boston in Bloom Awards.
Organisers said the country park had been instrumental in helping Boston gain three gold awards.
Peter said: “I couldn’t speak when the award was made to me. I was just filling up.”
Peter made his first suggestions about ways to improve the park in 2000.
At a public meeting called to form a park volunteer group, he was nominated and voted in as chairman and named it ‘Friends of Witham Way Country Park’.
Over the years the group masterminded the footpath routes – hard and mown – tamed the brambles, planted trees and developed the popular picnic area.
Led by Peter they fell into a weekly routine of cutting, trimming, planting and weeding, helping make the park a favoured location for Bostonians and visitors.
Peter designed the entrance board depicting park’s logo of the sun over the river and featuring trees and grass.
Information boards have been added and school groups and others have been encouraged to become involved, helping establish an orchard for the Queen’s jubilee, bug hotels and owl and kestrel boxes.
Use of the park has grown over the years as it has matured.
What was once a barren expanse of allotments is now a delight of native tree species, tame and wild areas and a haven for wildlife.
Peter said: “It would be a crying shame it if slipped back now.
“I hope someone comes forward to carry on the work the Friends have done. It’s not too onerous – about eight man hours a week keeps on top of it.”
He said he would continue to be a regular visitor to the park, and would be happy to pass on his knowledge and pass on the Friends’ equipment to a new group.
“It would suit someone newly retired with time to spare – as I had when I first became involved,” said Peter.
“It keeps you fit and active. People appreciate what they have here on their doorstep. We have had very little trouble in here because they know some of us are always around.”
To volunteer contact Jen Moore by calling 01205 314 583 or email firstname.lastname@example.org