Portstewart Strand volunteers named best Coast Care Group
The volunteers at Portstewart Strand have won the prestigious Live Here Love Here Coca-Cola Coast Care award for the best Coast Care Group. They were presented with their award at a special ceremony at Stormont on Thursday 13th October.
‘Our volunteers William Wilson, Tony Hawkins, Liam O'Neill, Walter Devenney, John McGonigle, Ciara Handford and Wilbert McIlmoyle have over 90 years of volunteering for the National Trust between them,’ explains beach supervisor Gill McIlmoyle.
‘Their dedication is never in doubt. They work efficiently as a team each using their own particular skills to enhance the property.’
This group of volunteers have contributed in numerous ways to helping Portstewart Strand achieve and maintain its status as one of the top Blue Flag beaches in Northern Ireland. Their interaction with the public (which on a busy day can number up to 5000 visitors) helps in no small way to promote this wonderful area.
‘Our Portstewart Strand volunteers perform many functions,’ adds Gill. ‘Every day they walk our two mile beach picking up litter and debris deposited by the sea (and a few less considerate members of the public). They also ensure that the toilets and dog and litter bins are as everyone would expect to find them. They patrol the 180 acres of sand dunes and regularly maintain the nature walkway, mending and checking signs and fences. They check on the plant and wildlife biodiversity in this designated Area of Special Scientific Interest eco system and enhance public recognition of this area by regularly leading nature walks and butterfly safaris.
Award winning beach
‘In essence the volunteers by their courtesy, demeanour and professional attitude have been instrumental in Portstewart Strand being voted by members of the public as the best Blue Flag beach in the UK in 2016 with a staggering 42% of the total vote. They can be very proud of this tremendous achievement.’
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