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A Year of the Volunteer: 2023

Celebrating the volunteers that made our work possible in 2023.

As we come to the end of another year, we want to celebrate the achievements and dedication of our volunteers. We held a festive thank you morning in their honour with pastries, cakes and drinks and everyone had the chance to make wreaths out of willow and ivy. We even had BFER party bags! It was a brilliant opportunity to chat to everyone and get to know them better. There is such an enormous range of interests and expertise in the group, we loved talking Anglo-Saxon finds, embroidery, santa runs, wild-swimming and poems inspired by fish ladders!

Some groups had the chance to show off what they’ve been working on this year with crafts and stalls and a photo slideshow. But, we wanted to share this blog post to celebrate all the volunteering achievements of 2023. Some are visible, like the Anglo-Saxon roundhouse, or the stunning embroidered Thetford complete with Duleep Singh and Captain Mainwaring. Some is anecdotal, like the three otters spotted in the lake at Euston Mill, or the ancient coin found on the edge of a field on one of our guided walks. But, a lot of the work done by volunteers isn’t something you can visit, or see, or readily display. We wanted to list them here to give you the full picture of the dedication of our volunteers:

BFER is in its fourth year and, so far, in 2023 alone our volunteers have:

Given: around 4,000 hours

Run: 120 kilometres

Introduced: 100 people to outdoor swimming

Trained: 61 people in introductory lifesaving skills and 265 new citizen scientists

Collected: over 4,500 survey forms

Guided: around 35 walks


And (because photos are nice too) here are just a few of our highlights of the volunteer year: