“Do you fancy going to Birdfair?” she said. “Don’t mind”, said I. “Tell you what, it’s probably too late but they may want volunteers,” she said. They did, we did, and we got the Birdfair bug! In the early years it meant making a contribution, helping some amazingly dedicated people with what little we could offer. Over the years it’s grown to be like a reunion- the volunteers that do the buzzers for just a linnet, the family down from Orkney, the willow weavers and the rope maker, Pippa the Pipistrelle from the Bat Conservancy, and of course, the two kings- Martin and Tim.

That’s what volunteering is all about- not just helping with conservation of birds, but the social aspects as well. We meet exhibitors, visitors, presenters and staff who have become friends both at Birdfair and on other occasions when we meet as well. It feels as though we’ve become part of the family; as we were told recently “you’ve been there for ever!” The warmth of the welcme makes us feel valued. Its great to see children sitting at the front of the Events Marquee, keen as mustard, asking Simon King questions, and realise they first came in pushchairs. It’s great to see the tradition of birding and Birdfair carrying on to the next generation.

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