Alan Foster

Alan FosterWhen it comes to the Friends who volunteer for conservation work, Alan's story is special in several respects. He is probably the longest serving member of that band with over seven years under his belt.

Alan started working at the Park as a volunteer on the 2nd December 2005.That's a very specific date and so it should be because it changed Alan's life!

Alan had left school at the age of 14 with no qualifications and no idea about what he wanted to do with his life. Then he met our Head Ranger, Richard, on an 'into work' course. The result was an invitation to visit the Park and a year later, Alan was spending most of the working week assisting the Rangers as an unpaid volunteer. As an unqualified youngster, he spent his time doing odd jobs, litter picking and being generally helpful.

The experience changed his outlook on life and resulted in him returning to part-time learning. As a result he gained qualifications in countryside and fisheries management. Following more voluntary work in the Park and other work experience, Alan had gained enough expertise and skills to set up his own business in 2011.

So what does this self employed man who spends all his days working in the countryside do in his spare time? He works as a volunteer in HOCP and also in Priory Country Park in Bedford. Why you may ask? Alan loves working in the Park and especially enjoys working with other volunteers. He is the most qualified of all the volunteers involved in conservation work in the Park, having taken full advantage of the courses that the Friends of the Park have funded. As such he is an invaluable asset not only to the Rangers but also to less experienced volunteers.

In Alan's words: "New volunteers are always welcome. No need to worry about having little or no experience, we allocate tasks according to what people feel they can do. Task days are meant to be enjoyable and are good for your health. Why not come and join us?"



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