My name is Neil Verlander and I was very happy to take on the role of Pond Warden at Hanley Swan which is a voluntary position. I’ve lived in the village since 1989, with my partner Gigi and although we worked from home for many years we didn’t seem to find much time to get involved in village life due to our business taking us all over the world, so it took some time to get fully integrated into village life.
It was when my Father came to live with us in 2004 that we found ourselves getting more involved through him really as he had the time to chat and keep up with village gossip. So when he passed away at the grand old age of 93 I noticed the village was looking for a new Pond Warden and I decided to put myself forward.
The initial work to get the pond ship shape was intense and you can read my journey here; The Community Project
Today with the help from New Farm who are contracted by the Parish Council to cut the grass on the Village Green and around the pond, its now a matter of maintaining the pond a few times a month to keep on top of things.
The village support is always there. I was extremely grateful to the Village Cafe Market, which is held monthly, for using some of the funds they raise each month to purchase a new strimmer, which certainly makes my job that little bit easier. My partner Gigi also comes down to lend a hand along with a few from the village who are happy to muck in to help keep things in good order.
I have to say that my main priority is to keep the water levels under control by clearing the outlet on a VERY regular basis, and from time to time heading up to Coverfield Farm to clear the brook that supplies the much needed flow of water into the pond.
Below is a short video showing the kind of work I get up to when I’m volunteering down at the pond