Wednesday 13 September 2023

End of Season Party at the Butterfly Park

On Sunday 10th 
September, to mark the last day of the 2023 opening season, the volunteers had an end of season party. There were two other celebrations that afternoon. First, the industrial history lectern by the brick pit was officially unveiled in honour of Frank Cottrell.

Unveiling of the industrial history lectern, dedicated to Frank Cottrell
Unveiling of the industrial history lectern, dedicated to Frank Cottrell

Hilary Ash gave a short speech about the late Frank Cottrell’s contribution to wildlife locally and the Butterfly Park in particular.

Frank lived in Spital and worked at Unilever, after a short spell in the RAF - which left him with a military bearing and an impressive moustache.

Frank’s passion was butterflies, but there being no locally active branch of Butterfly Conservation, he became chair of Wirral Wildlife (1989 - 1998) and a trustee of Cheshire Wildlife Trust in 1992. He
persuaded his fellow trustees that CWT should hold the Park's lease, opening up the way for the Park to start. Later he was a Sunday warden, with his friend Elaine Mills, retiring eventually at age 94! He gave a generous donation towards the new gates. Donations collected at Frank’s funeral were matched by Wirral Wildlife to enable the purchase of the lectern. It will help us display the history of the Park to visitors. The lectern is made of recycled plastic and aluminium, and we hope will last as long as Frank did - nearly 99 years.

Peter Miller, Paul Loughnane and Hilary Ash with the lectern
Peter Miller, Paul Loughnane and Hilary Ash with the lectern

The lectern display was created by Peter Miller and reflects the industrial legacy which has given the park such biodiversity. Howard Gibson and Peter put the lectern in together.

Following this the party moved to the Park’s entrance for a second celebration.

Steve Lyus and Phil Putwain raising the Green Flag
Steve Lyus and Phil Putwain raising the Green Flag

The 2023/24 Green Flag was jointly raised by the former chair of the Park’s committee, Steve Lyus and the new chair Phil Putwain. This is the 11th consecutive year that the Park has achieved a Green Flag. In his report the Green Flag judge could not think of any improvements needed to the Park!

Steve Lyus became the Chair of the Park committee in 2013 and was instrumental in redefining our relationship with Cheshire Wildlife Trust. He maintained the insurance cover, regularly reviewed risk assessments, kept the information board up to date and was a logical head at the Park committee meetings.
 Steve is a keen gardener and was presented with an interesting plant, Hydrangea Preziosa, which bears bright pink flowers, which mature to red and eventually burgundy in autumn. Steve retired to the Wirral because of its acidic soils, so that he could grow Camellia and Azalea shrubs.

We welcome Phil Putwain to his role of Chair of New Ferry Butterfly Park committee.

Flag raising wasn’t the end of the afternoon’s celebrations. It was followed by a BBQ for 28 guests -  a great coming together of the estate, wardening and recording teams. 
The volunteers demonstrated their culinary skills by bringing dishes such as spinach pie and banana cake, to mention but two contributions. Despite the heavy rain, resilience was demonstrated, and the BBQ continued until 7.45pm when the light was starting to fade. There was a lot to catch up with!

BBQ in the rain!
BBQ in the rain!

There was also a display about Frank Cottrell’s contribution to Wirral Wildlife with photographs of him with his Frog Dip children's game at Ness Gardens, at Apple Days at Brimstage Hall orchard and at the Butterfly Park when he retired as a warden, aged 94. You are never too old to volunteer!

Mike Cottrell and Elaine Mills with the display about Frank, with Paul and Hilary
Mike Cottrell and Elaine Mills with the display about Frank, with Paul and Hilary

This opening season, there have been 18 open Sundays and 19 group visits, amounting to 2,138 visitors (and still counting). The volunteer event marked the end of the public opening season and the start of the winter workdays, which will be on the second Sunday of each month.

Paul Loughnane and Hilary Ash

1 comment:

  1. Very much enjoyed the very interesting blog. A great celebration of the BP and a great tribute to Frank.