Bamboo Bash At Fleet Pond With ISS

The Surrey Multi-Activity Contract (MAC) is where ISS Facility Services Defence provides catering, cleaning, retail, leisure and a number of other services for Army units in Surrey.

Wallace Vincent of ISS writes:

“In addition to many other local examples of raising much needed funds for deserving causes, the management team at the Surrey MAC devoted a day’s hard labour for the Business in the Community ‘Give & Gain’ day.

It was agreed that Fleet Pond should be the beneficiary of some management ‘blood, sweat & tears’ on this occasion and Colin Gray, Chairman of the Fleet Pond Society, was extremely grateful for the working party.

For those of you that don’t know Fleet Pond, it is Hampshire’s largest natural lake, not really a pond at all.  A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Fleet Pond is a haven for wildlife, surrounded by woods, paths and streams that require constant maintenance.

As always, much of this upkeep is performed by volunteers, both individuals and groups.  It therefore provided an ideal opportunity for the team from the Surrey MAC to give up some of their time in helping with some ‘undergrowth management’!

Resplendent in their new ISS ‘Working in the Community’ T shirts, 9 brave souls met Colin Gray at the workshop ready to begin a hard day’s work in very warm weather.  Colin commenced with a short talk about the history of Fleet Pond and described the never-ending tasks associated with managing the area.  Soon it was off to work clearing a large patch of bamboo on the far bank of Brookly stream.

As you may guess, bamboo isn’t a local plant and it soon crowds out the flora & fauna, destroying the natural habitat of insects & birds.  It is tall, tough and very difficult to eradicate.  Long hours were spent in the blistering heat, equipped with branch loppers and heavy duty gloves, cutting off the bamboo close to the ground and removing the material from the location for subsequent collection by the wildlife rangers.

The group soon found out that this was hard physical work and regular breaks were needed to keep taking on fluids.

Anita Dean bought some trendy wellington boots for the day and was appalled to learn that she would have to get them a, wet and b, dirty!  Despite the best efforts of others, she managed to stay upright whilst carrying large bundles of bamboo across the stream.  A couple of the guys were engaged to remove one or two decaying rodents and, in general, it was hard but enjoyable toil.

By mid afternoon the heat and the hard work was starting to take its toll so Colin Gray took pity on the group and called a halt to, in his words, “a great job, well done”. A debrief is an important part of the day so it was decided to replenish some fluids at a local hostelry overlooking the pond.”

Editor: The event took place in July this year – apologies to readers for the delay in posting!

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