Swift action saves possible Pond flood

PUBLISHED: 12:59 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 21:27 29 May 2010

Alex Willingale spent two hours clearing the pond grate

Alex Willingale spent two hours clearing the pond grate

THE swift actions of a passer-by prevented rising water levels becoming dangerously high at Dunmow s Doctor s Pond on Sunday. Alex Willingale of The Maltings, Dunmow, was passing the pond when he noticed the water level was very high due to the overflow g

THE swift actions of a passer-by prevented rising water levels becoming dangerously high at Dunmow's Doctor's Pond on Sunday.

Alex Willingale of The Maltings, Dunmow, was passing the pond when he noticed the water level was very high due to the overflow grate being blocked by debris.

"I saw the water was much higher than it should have been, said Mr Willingale. "I would say it was about three inches from bursting its banks. I could see that the overflow grate was blocked with leaves and twigs and knew I had to do something."

Mr Willingale rushed home to get a rake and returned to the pond. He then spent the next two hours keeping the overflow free of debris until the pond had returned to what he deemed to be a safe level.

"When I cleared it up, it quickly became blocked again because of the high amount of leaves in the pond," he said.

"It's a shame, but the town council doesn't seem to give a monkeys about the pond anymore."

Mr Willingale, a gardener by trade, said there used to be a man who cleared the pond on a regular basis, but he hasn't seen him for some time.

"The pond needs to be cleared out on a more regular basis than it is at the moment, maybe once a month, but while the leaves are falling from the trees, a weekly check should be made," he explained. "If you leave too much leaf litter rotting in the pond the water quality drops and will eventually kill the wildlife."

Dunmow Town councillor David Beedle was out walking when he came across Mr Willingale clearing the grate.

"I think that Alex doing this work is fantastic," he said. "It is great to see a volunteer taking an interests in the town. It is his admirable attitude that helped us win the best kept village award this year."

Cllr Beedle explained that the town council recognised that the pond needed to be monitored closely and maintained and said that where the grate is located is where the debris naturally collects due to the geography of the area.

He admitted that Mr Willingale having to do this work showed that maybe things were not being done as often as they need to be, but explained: "The town council does employ a groundsman to look after the town's parks and recreation grounds and he goes out early in the morning to ensure that the areas are tidy for people using them.

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