Over the past nine years, Northumberland Wildlife Trust has received a whopping £919,939 from players of People's Postcode Lottery.
The charity has used its funding on projects large and small – lobbying for new marine conservation zones and conservation measures for the region's fish, crayfish and rivers; habitat management on reserves; and new equipment for volunteers.
This August, and for the second year running, players enabled members of the public to get closer to nature at the Trust's outdoor festival, aptly titled 'Our Wildlife', at Blagdon Hall Estate on the outskirts of Newcastle.
The event was made possible by the kind permission of Lord and Lady Ridley, who very kindly gave exclusive access to Blagdon Hall's gardens, which are normally closed to the public. The event was the 'staycation' event of the summer!
Hundreds of people enjoyed a host of wildlife experiences, including bird mist netting and release, wildlife spotting, moth catching, small mammal trapping, bush crafts and campfire cooking, marshmallow toasting, and fleece preparation and spinning. Visitors were also serenaded by a team of Northumbrian Pipers.
There was even a treat in store for adrenaline junkies, as polar explorer Conrad Dickinson, who guided Prince Harry during the Walking with the Wounded 2013 South Pole Allied Challenge, was signed up as guest speaker.
Dickinson, who was born and brought up in Northumberland, is still the first and only Briton to have achieved the 'Polar Grand Slam' of crossing Greenland, crossing the Antarctic plateau to reach the South Pole, and crossing the Arctic to the North Pole – all unsupported. He talked about his many polar exploits, as well as his time sharing a tent with Prince Harry!