Falling in love with Pagham by volunteer co-ordinator Roger Johnson
I’m not sure when I first fell in love with Pagham Harbour but it was certainly more than 20 years ago when I was bringing up my then young son as a single parent. Although very much a townie, I’ve always loved the countryside and I was keen to give Dan the chance to share my enthusiasm. We became regular visitors both at weekends and during the school holidays. Gradually as he grew older, he developed other interests too so the visits became less frequent until I hardly visited at all. But then I had the chance to retire some 3 years ago and I began to revisit on a regular basis the places I had enjoyed back then. There is a seat on the Tramway and near to the kissing gate looking out over the Harbour to Pagham that I regard as just about my favourite place where I can sit and let the world pass me by. It’s an idyllic location.
Anyway, one Wednesday afternoon on the way back from a walk I popped into the visitor centre for a cuppa and got talking to Margaret, a volunteer steward. Somehow, we got on to chatting about volunteering and it turned out that they were looking for someone to fill a slot in the visitor centre on alternate Wednesday afternoons. She suggested that I might like to think about it. Well, I did think about it and the rest is, as they say, history as I now volunteer in the visitor centre every Wednesday! A natural progression for me next was to start helping at some of the varied events we put on here, both for children and adults. Helping at the children’s events led me into volunteering with the education team, which I love. I don’t have any formal teaching qualification but I like to think that I can pass on at least a little of my enthusiasm to the children. Being a big kid at heart I especially enjoy the mud sifting and the pond dipping activities or a paddle in Pagham Lagoon searching for beach beasties. I enjoyed a magical moment there when we had a school visit of 7/8 year olds from Dorking some of whom had never even seen the sea before. I’ll not forget the look of sheer wonder on their faces as they searched, knee deep in the water, for crabs or other creatures.
One Wednesday when I arrived for my stint, I was called over to talk with Kathy, my volunteer manager. At first I wondered what I had done wrong so I was surprised, to say the least, to be asked if I would like to consider taking on the role as volunteer, ‘Volunteer Co-ordinator’. I took a while to think about it before, somewhat reluctantly at first, agreeing to give it a go. That’s where I am now and I hope I’m growing into the role, using the organisational and managerial skills I developed during my working life.
I thoroughly enjoy volunteering with the RSPB. It’s rewarding and I love working as part of a friendly team. Why not join us?