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Wanted: ‘weekday warriors’ to help in fort restoration work

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Fort Cunningham on Paget Island (Photograph supplied)

A charity wants to recruit a team of “weekday warriors” to help with restoration work on an historic fort.

Work has already started at Fort Cunningham on Paget Island, St George’s Harbour, with members of the Royal Bermuda Regiment helping to clear undergrowth.

But Stuart Smith, head of the St George’s Foundation Heritage and Preservation Working Group, said: “I’m looking for weekday warriors — able-bodied men and women to come and spend a day during the week clearing.”

The work is a collaborative effort by the Ministry of Works and Engineering, the Parks Department and the St George’s Foundation.

It reflects a memorandum of understanding between the charitable organisation and the Government to maintain, restore and preserve the Unesco-designated heritage sites — a mandate of the St George’s Foundation.

Felling and clearing of invasive vegetation has begun with the help of members of the regiment and plans are in place to clear out the moat with a Bobcat.

Mr Smith added: “We are working on the inside of the fort clearing gutters, cutting invasive plants and trees, and clearing the excessive casuarinas growing out of the fort. We are always looking for volunteers.

“I am also planning to have school groups come and help and hope to attract corporate days of giving.

“We are planning to do some tours to raise money for the restoration — there will be a reduced rate for St George’s Foundation members and then we will open it up for general public.”

Mr Smith said it is expected that the work will be completed by mid-June.

Fort Cunningham (Photograph supplied)

Fort Cunningham was built in 1815 by Captain Thomas Cunningham to defend the Narrows Channel.

It is a polygonal fort set within a deep ditch which was completely renovated in the 1860s, when it was upgraded to an iron shield fort at great expense.

The site has been largely neglected for the past 25 years since archaeological work in the early 1990s, though the Mirrors Programme, a mentoring charity, carried out some clearing of the fort and Paget Island in 2018.

Anyone interested in joining the volunteer effort can call Mr Smith on 777-9856 or e-mail him on smitty@ibl.bm

The St George’s Foundation is hosting fundraising tours of the fort on May 14 and 21 from 9am to 12pm. Tickets will be available on BDAtix website.

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Published April 27, 2022 at 7:33 am (Updated April 27, 2022 at 7:33 am)

Wanted: ‘weekday warriors’ to help in fort restoration work

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