Posted August 16, 2023 by Steph
Watchtree Nature Reserve was once again honoured to host what has become an annual volunteering event in memory of Carlisle Balfour Beatty employee, Grant Taylor, who tragically passed away last year aged 22 whilst on a skiing holiday in France.
Grant was instrumental in plans made between Watchtree and Balfour Beatty to transform and renew areas of the popular nature reserve as part of a volunteering initiative and in 2022, colleagues of Taylor convened at Watchtree to carry out his plans in his memory.
The success of the day led to a pledge to make the volunteering event an annual occasion, and on Friday 4th August 2023, once again colleagues and friends of Grant met up, along with his parents, Kevin and Tracey Taylor, to complete tasks and renovations at the reserve. Volunteers again wore orange shirts displaying the ‘GT22’ logo, depicting Grant’s initials and age.
It was testament to his memory that 58 people volunteered for the day, including some of Watchtree’s own volunteers. On the volunteering day, employees from Balfour Beatty, WSP, UES (UK Electrical Services), AE Yates, DSD, HW Martin, Electricity North West, and Dalston Aggregates all joined forces to complete projects at the reserve.
Grant’s best friend, Dylan Atkinson from WSP, who completed his HNC and Degree alongside Grant, assisted with plans for Watchtree’s Elemental Garden and WSP also provided lunch for all volunteers on the day. Grant’s fellow Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award team members also joined the volunteers, travelling to Carlisle from as far as Southampton.
Among various jobs, a new sandstone paved area was installed and new pathways surrounding Watchtree’s Quiet Garden were laid. The main Watchtree entrance sign was repainted, and areas surrounding the Visitors Centre transformed. A new ‘dropped kerb’ was installed to enable better accessibility for Watchtree’s out of hours visitors. Electrical work in a new unit and donations of a new seating bench and built planters were gratefully received.
John Turner, Network Manager for Balfour Beatty said: “We are delighted with turnout of volunteers today. Grant was a great colleague and was held in high esteem, not only with Balfour Beatty employees but also with our many partners and suppliers, demonstrated by the number of different organisations represented here today.”
David Hall, Estates and Habitats Team Leader at Watchtree Nature Reserve said: “We are overwhelmed by the level of support provided by Balfour Beatty and the other teams here today. Some of the projects completed with their help would have remained simply ideas, but with their expertise, personnel power and machinery, we have been able to make improvements far more quickly than we thought possible.”
Tracey Taylor, Grant’s mother said: “It is lovely to see Grant being honoured in this way. It demonstrates that his memory lives as strong as ever with his colleagues and friends, which is a real comfort to us. To know that Grant had a hand in planning these works gives us real pride and we will always be able to visit Watchtree, appreciating it was a special place for him too.”