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Name: Fred
Project: The Allotment in Kensington Gardens

Volunteer Fred

In the fall of 2004, soon after I moved to London from the United States, I started volunteering at The Royal Parks.

It has been a fantastic experience, taking me to all eight of the Royal Parks and the Brompton Cemetery. I started helping with the student day trips at The Lookout in Hyde Park and assisting on tours of both Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. The opportunity for training at most of the parks has been a plus, both being in the parks and learning new subject areas. Each park has its own unique layout, buildings, monuments, plants and history.

The last two years I have enjoyed the Allotment in Kensington Gardens close to Buck Hill. Regular visitors stop by all year and many are amazed at what is growing in the middle of the city. The Fall Harvest Festival has been a great community activity. This year, so many children enjoyed digging potatoes. This year's addition of a greenhouse and a proper shed is adding to the flexibility of the allotment.

A few years ago I had the pleasure of working with the BBC, both at Regent's Park and at an event on the south side of the Thames. For three summers, several of us were part of the Brompton Cemetery Open House. The children enjoyed making top hats and bonnets in the style of the 1800s. The trees, birds and tombstone history made the Open House an interesting outing.

The addition of the new Isis Education Centre has provided an ideal venue for the students, staff and volunteers. Recently I worked with a group of deaf and hearing impaired students. The students enjoyed their outing and I enjoyed working with them. I had served on a Parks Committee with people from the disabled community years ago.

The Olympics provided a great opportunity to bring so many new people to the park. I was given the privilege of being a London Ambassador and was assigned to four different parks. My experience in the parks, along with the training provided, allowed me to be of service to so many locals and visitors.

While the teaching and guiding have been most rewarding, the friendships with the staff and fellow volunteers have been the highlight of my years with the parks. I enjoy working with and getting to know people as we provide the park experience for the public, particularly the students.

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