Generally I enjoy doing everything. In October 2004 something happened which
changed my life.
I was at home and Nick Baker came on Radio Newcastle and described his
experiences of watching the red kites in Gateshead. He was going to the
Metrocentre and I was determined to go and meet him and that was how I got
information about the red kites and became a volunteer.
It changed my life in that I’d been a teacher and has done lots of indoor things and
suddenly the whole of the outdoor world became available to me. It was a privilege
to get involved with these fantastic birds which were released in Gateshead and
once I joined the project I had a go at everything.
I did the monitoring and release of birds. I enjoyed the office work where we have a
lot of fun with the other volunteers. I really enjoyed making the wing tags and
harnesses for the birds but soon I became involved in doing the community
presentations. This means I go out and about all over the North East of England. I
meet all different kinds of people, from W.I.s, townswomen guilds to gentleman’s
clubs and wildlife groups. I enjoy doing this very much because when you introduce
the red kites to people who haven’t seen them before it’s a fantastic experience. My
husband David comes with me and he does the computer because I enjoy doing the
talking. I introduce him as my technical assistant and at one gentleman’s club he
was asked if I ever stop taking and he replied ‘only when I was asleep’.
One of the things that we offer is to take people out into the countryside to see the
red kites and this is a privilege because the birds are so fantastic and they’re so
accessible here in Gateshead. I also became a health walk leader and this is really
interesting because we meet lots of different people and we have one lady who
comes who feels secure walking in a group whereas on her own she wouldn’t feel
I’m so interested in the red kites that when it was my 60th birthday I had a birthday
cake made with a red kite on and a t-shirt to wear with a kite on the front.
I was very fortunate in being put forward for a community award from Nationwide
and the Heritage Lottery Fund and my award was for giving community
I love being out in the countryside and since I’ve joined the kite project I’ve also
joined a bird group. So I’ve learned a lot about wildlife, I’ve made a lot of good
friends and as the red kite project is coming to an end I’ve become Vice Chairman of
the Friends of Red Kites group of volunteers which hopefully is going to continue a
number of the project aims. And I look forward to many more opportunities to
promote these beautiful birds.