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Exploring Sussex’s countryside gems with Lorna

Lorna leading one of her tours Lorna leading one of her tours

Lorna felt the need to do something to protect the Sussex countryside that she loves so much. She now leads CPRE Sussex’s summer visits programme to beautiful spots in the Kent and Sussex countryside.

What’s your ideal day in the countryside?

Walking the Seven Sisters in the South Downs National Park, with views of the open down land, chalk cliffs and blue sea. My favourite season is spring when the wild flowers are out and skylarks are singing.

What made you decide to volunteer with CPRE?

After retiring as Head of Geography, I felt the need to do something to protect the countryside that I loved so much, and I considered my local CPRE to be an ideal organisation for which to volunteer. I had taught about the work CPRE do in my sixth form lessons so I had already a good insight into the work of the charity.

Which activities do you support?

I organise a summer visits programme for Sussex CPRE members to locations within Sussex and Kent. Each year we arrange 4 or 5 separate visits to gems of our local countryside. The places we visit range from local producers of food and drink, farms, gardens and historic houses to recycling centres and producers of green energy. I also volunteer in the office and help with other events such as the AGM and biannual Sussex Countryside Awards.

How often do you volunteer with CPRE?

I work in the office on a Friday morning and attend the outings in the spring and summer.

What do you find most rewarding about volunteering with CPRE?

I enjoy working with other CPRE members, staff and volunteers, to further the aims of the organization.

Organising the programme of visits allows me to meet many members and share their love of the countryside. It’s always satisfying to receive positive feedback on the visits I have organised. I also get the chance to meet a variety of people who make a living working in the countryside.

When I first retired it was nice to have the regular Friday morning in the office because when you leave work after 30 or so years it can seem a little daunting. CPRE helped me to have some structure to my week whilst at the time keeping alive my interest in environmental issues.

What do you find most challenging about your role?

I organise my events months in advance and cannot therefore predict the weather. This can be a challenge because the majority of the outings are outdoors, and we all know how unpredictable the British weather can be! I have learnt to become less stressful and also to have some indoor visits as well.

Very occasionally a member can be a bit rude – not always appreciating that sometimes things don’t go completely to plan and that I am a volunteer - so perhaps expecting more than I can provide. I have learnt not to let this upset me.

Has your volunteering with CPRE enhanced your passion for the countryside?

It’s made me want to protect it more!

What would you say to someone considering volunteering with CPRE?

Just do it! You won’t regret it and you will learn a lot about the countryside whilst meeting interesting like – minded people. Being able to offer your skills will be very rewarding.

What 3 words would you use to describe your volunteer experience?

  • Fun
  • Rewarding
  • Educational
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