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70 years wild

By Mercury reporter

This December Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

In the same year that the National Health Service was founded, the summer Olympics were held in London and the first polo mints were manufactured; a group of naturalists led by the late Ted Smith, then aged 28, founded the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Originating from a committee of the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union (LNU) set up in 1945 to compile a list of sites of wildlife interest in the county as part of a national plan for nature conservation; it soon became clear that more than just a committee would be required.

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust came into being on December 2, 1948.

It was only the third such county Trust to be formed after Yorkshire (in 1946) and Norfolk (1926).

As well as preparing to launch the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, negotiations were underway for the establishment of a nature reserve at Gibraltar Point to the south of Skegness.

It would be a new kind of nature reserve; one that protected wildlife but also that people were encouraged to visit.

On December 10, 1948, the newly fledged Wildlife Trust signed a landmark agreement with Lincolnshire County Council to manage Gibraltar Point.

It was an auspicious start for the Trust.

As Ted Smith recalled in his memoir ‘Trustees for Nature’: “There was no manual to tell one how to run a county trust.

"We had plenty of ideas for putting conservation into practice: creating nature reserves, promoting awareness through education and so on, but first there was the less glamourous but equally demanding job of building an organisation by attracting members and funds and active volunteer involvement.”

At the end of the first year, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust had 130 members and a total income of £82.

New organisations can be fragile creations, but with the energy and enthusiasm of the founder members, the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust didn’t falter.

Over the 70 years since it was founded, the trust has grown to be one of the biggest and most influential county-based charities in Lincolnshire.

With almost 100 nature reserves, 28,000 members and more than 1,000 volunteers, the trust works to make Lincolnshire wilder and to make nature part of life, for everyone.

There are various ways you can join in the celebrations, including the Bake for Wildlife initiative.

The idea is to invite friends round for tea and show off your best hedgehog cake, or get together a team in your office and have a competition for Star Baker.

You could even host your own bake sale at your local school or village hall and help raise money for the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Whatever you decide to do, the trust wants to share your events using #70YearsWild on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.

For more information visit Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust

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