Create wild areas so our butterflies can survive
Did you join in the Big Butterfly Hunt 2017? This asks you to record the butterflies seen in your garden over a 15-minute period. This count ended on August 6.
You probably didn’t see many this year. Last year was the fourth worst on record, showing the continual decline in butterfly numbers.
Butterfly Conservation Society uses this National Count to monitor butterfly numbers throughout the UK each year.
Thousands of volunteers work with Butterfly Conservation to improve and increase habitat for both butterflies and insects generally.
However, the decline continues and is thought to be mainly through farming practices which do not allow enough wild areas for insects and other wildlife to thrive on their land.
I would encourage all landowners, who are the custodians of our countryside and unaware of the serious decline in much of our wildlife, to offer such spaces, in the same way the Environmental Stewardship Scheme is designed to help biodiversity and the environment generally. After all, without insects we wouldn’t be here on this planet!
The past week or so has seen much reporting of the centenary of The Battle of Passchendaele.
It is appropriate we should be recalling the tragic events and remembering the loss of so many young lives.
However, there seems to have been little coverage, especially on the television programmes, of those who survived.
Some of those survivors were horrendously invalided, losing limbs, sight and hearing, and suffering from the aftermath of gas attacks.
Some were not physically injured, but ALL carried the mental scars for the rest of their lives.
My grandfather was one such soldier. Although I did not really know him, as he died when I was very young, my grandmother always said he returned from that war a completely changed man.
He was reported to have been carried shoulder-high through the streets in commemoration of his medal-winning bravery but received no help in being adjusted back into civilian life.
Like so many others, he had to make his own way with a serious injury to his leg.
We should remember this horrific battle, but let us also remember the survivors and acknowledge what they gave, even if they did not give their lives.
Bag it, beat it for heart research
This September, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) is raising awareness of Women and Heart Disease and I want to encourage your readers to help fund life-saving heart research by taking part in our Bag It. Beat It. campaign throughout the month.
It’s a sad reality that cardiovascular disease (CVD) causes the deaths of over 9,000 women in North West England alone each year. The BHF is determined to fund as much vital research as possible into every aspect of CVD.
Having a clear out and donating any unwanted items to your local BHF shop as part of Bag It. Beat It. is a simple way to get involved. To help make donating hassle-free, we even offer a free home collection service which can be booked by calling 0800 915 3000. To find out more, please visit bagit.bhf.org.uk
Area manager at the British Heart Foundation