Water colourful way to thank organisation

Patsy Ryan and Paul Hannaby from the Environment Agency accept the thank-you card from the group on the island. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Patsy Ryan and Paul Hannaby from the Environment Agency accept the thank-you card from the group on the island. Picture by Jane Coltman.
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A group of Morpeth residents got creative to show their gratitude to the team that ‘saved their island’.

The island of pebbles, which sits in the River Wansbeck at High Stanners by the stepping stones, can be reached by foot when the river is low enough.

It is used by children and their parents and grandparents to play on and for nature visits.

As part of the town’s flood defence scheme, the Environment Agency’s options included dredging away the island.

But after the residents stressed its importance to the organisation, one of the project’s teams of experts decided that it would only need to skim some gravel off the top. As a result, most of the feature is still intact.

The group recently made a thank-you card for Environment Agency biodiversity officer Paul Hannaby, flood risk engineer Simon Eadington and freshwater ecologist Patsy Ryan.

Group spokeswoman Bridget Gubbins said: “There are a lovely range of plants and wildlife, such as ducks and herons, in this habitat.

“We wanted to publicly thank the Environment Agency. Whilst it had to carry out vital works in the river, it was able to keep the island intact.”

Mr Hannaby said: “There are ecological benefits to retaining the island.

“It’s a nice piece of habitat and it goes through an urban stretch of the river that is highly valued by the public.

“Where possible, we work to keep flood defences and schemes in keeping with the local environment. This is a great example of where we have been able to do that.”