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Croome Court through trees

20 YEARS OF CROOME & 20 YEARS VOLUNTEERING

The National Trust are celebrating 20 years since acquiring Croome’s parkland, near Worcester, and two key people have been with them every step of the way.

Two volunteers are now the longest serving team members who have been helping restore the parkland to the famous 18th century landscape designer, ‘Capability’ Brown’s, vision.

“John and Nigel have given hundreds if not thousands of hours of their time to volunteer in the garden and park at Croome since 1996 when the NT purchased Croome Park,” said Katherine Alker, Croome’s Garden and Parks Manager. ”Their memories of how overgrown the place was in the early days makes us realise just how much we have achieved over the past 20 years. We’re grateful to all our volunteers, but this is a particularly significant milestone for John and Nigel, so congratulations to them.”

The parkland had been neglected over many years and work began in 1996 replanting trees, dredging the lake and river, restoring statues and building and reinstating miles of historic pathways. Accompanying Croome on its fascinating journey from day one - John Sayers and Nigel Matthews.

Initially John and Nigel both volunteered one Sunday a month before Croome was open to the public. John, an engineer and active with the Worcester Auto Club, saw an advert in the Worcester News asking for volunteers and came along to the first Sunday that the team started work on the garden and park. Nigel, a long standing trust National Trust member, came to Croome in Easter 1996 to an open weekend and signed up to join the team.

The whole area was overgrown and as John put it “just a tangle of trees”. In the early days, time was spent chopping and clearing the mass of growth that had accumulated after years of neglect, to the point where the volunteer crew became known as the ‘slash and burn team’.

“At that time no-one ever envisaged the garden and park being returned to the fantastic place it is today”, said Nigel Matthews.

Both have friends that they have made through their volunteering experience who have come and gone, but John and Nigel are still at Croome and have remained good friends since the day they started.

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 10am until 4.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11am to 4pm every day. Normal admission applies.

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome