How long have you been on the Parish Council?
I was co-opted on to the Parish Council in December 2017
How long have you lived in Kelvedon?
I have lived in Kelvedon since February 2015. I chose Kelvedon for pragmatic reasons; the trainline, the distance to work, the village status (and the pubs) – and promptly fell in love with it! Now I wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else in Essex.
I live in a small cottage with my partner and an enormous fluffy rescue cat called Rufus! My parents live nearby in Maldon whilst my only sibling, a brother called Matthew, chose to flee the UK for a career on the snowboarding slopes of France.
I was born and raised in Pembrokeshire (west Wales) and so was fortunate to spend my childhood playing on the beaches or cycling through country roads – something which I suspect influenced my conservation-based career choice.
What’s your “day-job” / career history?
Following three years studying ecology at the University of East Anglia I chose a career in wildlife conservation. I now work for Essex Wildlife Trust as a Landscape Conservation Area Manager, responsible for north-east Essex (Colchester to the coast, the Suffolk border to Maldon). I have been employed by the Trust for eight years (and was a volunteer for several years prior to this). My role is extremely varied; a general week may include a mixture of site visits, providing advice to landowners, meetings and wielding (carefully!) a chainsaw. I really enjoy my job (even the cold weather and mud) which, after so long, still provides me with a new challenge each day.
What other voluntary organisations have you worked with?
My job and role as a Parish Councillor (plus seeing family, socialising and the odd holiday) keeps me very busy but whenever possible get involved in supporting other charities. In previous years, as well as volunteering for Essex Wildlife Trust, I have also skydived to raise money for Parkinsons UK and ran to raise money for Farleigh Hospice. This winter my partner and I collected blankets, hats and gloves to donate to homeless people in Colchester and we hope to be able to do more to support this cause in the months to come.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
My hobby / passion (when pennies allow) is for travelling, preferably ‘off the beaten track’; last year my partner and I spent three weeks exploring Belize and we hope to visit Ethiopia in December. Besides travelling, I love camping (the wild, basic version – a view and a campfire with not a clubhouse in sight!), reading and attending beer and music festivals (especially the one in Kelvedon!). I have recently bought a pair of running trainers so may be one day I can list “jogging” too…. watch this space!
Why did you choose to join the Parish Council?
I joined the parish council, partly because I wished to become more involved in the community, partly because I felt that my wildlife conservation knowledge may be of benefit to matters such as managing the lovely Brockwell Meadows and consulting on planning applications and partly because I wanted an interest which stretched my mind (it’s not all dog poo bins after all!). I really enjoy being a Parish Councillor, it’s as rewarding as it is interesting and because of this.
What do you hope to achieve in your role as Parish Councillor?
I hope to continue to support committee meetings, primarily the Planning committee meetings and Allotment committee meetings, particularly in relation to environmental matters and during such a crucial time in terms of the Neighbourhood Plan. In addition, when time allows, I would like to become more involved in the management of Brockwell Meadows, so that it continues to function as a haven for wildlife, as well as being valued and enjoyed by more of the community.