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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Keith Retires as Parish Clerk

Keith Metcalf, our Milford on Sea Parish Clerk is retiring on the 18th October, which is coincidentally also his 65th birthday. 

Keith and Parish Councillors
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Keith has been our Parish Clerk since 1997, taking over from Jenny Spenser. For the past 17 years he has efficiently and diligently administered village issues and projects.

As well as handling day to day village matters, he has been a key driver in ensuring that the parish has received the very best of attention to maintaining and improving the village's common habitats and woodland, including the clearing and ongoing husbandry of the Pleasure Grounds, creating information boards sited in the Pleasure Grounds, and the Studland Common grazing project in conjunction the New Forest Land Advisory Service.

He also oversaw the creation of the bird scrape area, the publication of a village walk leaflet, and is currently working to create a Community Orchard in a corner of Studland Meadow, close to Pless Road in Milford on Sea.

During the last two years Keith has worked tirelessly with Jenny Spenser to bring about the village Biodiversity Action Plan for Milford on Sea, working very closely with the Community Wildlife Team at the National Park Office. The final edition will shortly be published and will form the basis for protection and enhancement of the environment in Milford on Sea, leading, of course, to much work!

Keith is recognised by numerous councillors, together with many residents, for his dedication and application to his duties whilst Parish Clerk. 

Keith Metcalf
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Not short of interests, Keith is well known as the 'Milford on Sea Champion of Wildlife'!

He will be continuing as the Conservation Officer of the Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV).

Prior to the formation of MCV, Keith and Tony Locke had created and run the Wildlife and Recording Group (WRG) for 10 years, before they merged with Milford Environment Group (MEG) in 2011.

During this time he has been involved in many projects and developments to conserve and improve the natural surroundings and wildlife in the village.

Whilst with WRG he worked tirelessly towards getting the bird hide erected close to The Marine in Hurst Road.  Obtaining grants, and organising the construction and ongoing maintenance of the hide.

Since the merger of the WRG and MEG in December 2011 Keith has produced all the very informative newsletters which have been going out to members at least twice a year. All produced to a high standard and he has taken no personal credit for the tremendous effort he has put in.

His greatest passion is for bird watching and he has ensured the continuation of bird surveys on Studland Common which were begun when Prof. Gerald Smart was once Chairman of the Parish Council. His vast knowledge in bird watching and general nature is evident to anyone who has been walking with him. 

Keith is a keen photographer, and it will come as no surprise that his loves to photograph his beloved birds and wildlife. He also has great love of sport and still enjoys regularly playing snooker and table tennis with friends. He is an avid supporter of Arsenal, and when he first moved to the village some 20 plus years ago, Keith played in a veterans football team, and also helped to manage a local youth football team. 

Studland Common Grazing
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As a devoted father and grandfather he spends much time with his family, and his friends say he often quotes his late and dearly missed wife Anne, who the family lost in 2009 and with whom he had spent many happy years enjoying life. 

Keith is known for being caring and thoughtful, and has a drive to achieve things to benefit others in the local community. Not one to take the glory, Keith often diligently works behind the scenes dealing with endless paperwork, and he is first to pull on his wellies when task group need forming and jobs need doing to conserve our valuable open spaces and woodland. 

Keith at BioBlitz 2013
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Not quite ready for the 'pipe & slippers' life, Keith has a challenging vision to join with others to found a Milford on Sea Museum which would both display various village artefacts and provide yet another attraction for villagers and visitors alike. How and where this may happen is still in the planning stage, but hopefully he will succeed to the benefit of all. 

We join in wishing Keith a long and happy retirement, although we are not sure how much rest he will be getting!

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