Now the secret is out I would like to say a huge congratulations to our very own Peter Merchant. Peter collected his president award over the weekend for the time (29 years!) he has given to the RSPB. The prestigious RSPB presidents award recognises significant volunteer contribution to nature conservation and to the work of the RSPB.
Collecting his award 
Peter started volunteering on Havergate Island in 1989 when John Partridge the then warden asked him to go out and have a look at the gas set up on the wardens accommodation huts. As a qualified gas engineer Peter quickly condemned the installation and worked hard to make it safe to enable it to pass the inspection. Since then he has continued to be Havergate's Gas engineer, joined the habitat work party and became a guided walks leader.
I started as warden in 2014 soon after the Dec 2013 tidal surge when a lot of the infrastructure was damaged beyond repair. Peter made the very daunting job look easy and took on the challenge to build a new hide in place of the old ones we had to knock down. Using his knowledge and skill he designed, planned and organised a team and we now have a wonderful hide looking out onto the main lagoons.
This is only the work I have done with Peter since I started a couple of years ago. Over the years Peter has offered his support to different wardens and volunteers to build and maintain the islands and other reserves infrastructure. Peter is a true inspiration to all the volunteers who work with him and a great team leader.  
Thank you Peter for all of your hard work and support – you deserve this award. 
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