Volunteers brave wet weather to clean beach
Thunder and lightning could not dampen the spirits of volunteers who rallied in the West End to help clean up Mangrove Bay Beach.
Locals, tourists and even American Navy sailors pitched in to restore the beach to its natural state during the community clean-up day on Saturday.
“One of the best things about today is seeing how many people came to help,” said Pat Philip-Fairn, chief product and experiences development officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority (BTA). “It’s been a wonderful day.”
Ms Philip-Fairn said the event showed Bermuda at its best, adding: “The beaches are such an important asset. We cannot afford to neglect one of our biggest assets as a destination.”
The BTA partnered with the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Somerset Economic Empowerment Zone (SEEZ), Cambridge Beaches Resort, Keep Bermuda Beautiful (KBB), the Department of Parks and Sandys Parish Council for the event. Several other local businesses also supported the effort. Somerset EEZ economic development officer, William Spriggs, said the partnerships had “worked out really well” and that there had been a “huge turnout”.
“Everybody pitched in and did what they had to do in record time,” he added.
Cambridge Beaches Resort general manager, Clarence Hofheins, said it had been a “fantastic” effort.
“We felt pretty confident that a lot of people would turn up, but what’s great is that all sectors of the community have shown up, from residents and business owners to church groups and even tourists,” he added
KBB executive director, Anne Hyde, thanked all those who supported the event and described it as a wonderful example of people working cooperatively to accomplish a major goal.
“If you want to make improvements in the community, you have to have community involvement,” she said.
“You can’t just wait for someone else to do it.”
Wedco chairman Ray Charlton also commended the community and the organisers who assisted, and said “the beach is looking vastly improved”.
Thomas Slick, whose land borders the beach, was surprised to see so many people from all walks of life show up.
“I’ve never seen so many volunteers on this beach in the last 50 years,” he said.
Brothers and sisters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also joined the effort, as did sailors from the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.
The sailors arrived in Bermuda as part of the Marion to Bermuda Race and were staying at the Sandys Boat Club.
The skipper of the Defiance, Jared Valeske, said the club had been so welcoming and gracious that the crew wanted to do something to give back to the community.
He said the rain was his favourite part, especially when the song Happy started playing.
Mr Valeske highlighted how great it was to see everyone come together and remarked how close the community is in Bermuda. “We like being a part of that,” he added.