Founding Duckling Watch

10. Mary Harvey (Birmingham)

Mary Harvey from Birmingham has for years kept a watchful eye over her local neighbours – both human and feathered.

10 Downing Street

Mary, who is 93 and tirelessly devoted to her local community, set up a ‘Duckling Watch’ scheme and amassing an army of local children to become junior community wardens, tackling anti-social behaviour and helping young ducks make the journey to adulthood.

‘Duckling Watch’ was created in 2009 after Mary helped to inspire fellow volunteers to join her to help protect water birds, their nests and eggs.  As well as joining her on ‘Duckling Watch’ a team of young people come together once a month to give something back to their community through activities such as litter picking, community watch and graffiti removal.

Mary is a member of the local Community Watch in Perry Common, Birmingham and has been for the past 10 years.  Every few days she spends more than an hour knocking on up to 70 doors, dealing with homeowners’ concerns about their neighbourhood and often contacting the police on their behalf. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Mary has done an extraordinary thing. She has not just ensured the protection of wildlife in her community. She has taken on antisocial behaviour and recruited an army of young people to help her. At 93, Mary is a true force nature and I’m delighted to recognise her as a Point of Light.”

Mary said:

“I’m thrilled to bits to get this award – it’s a great honour. I love being a volunteer; it gets me out of the house and keeps fit and I’ve no intention of packing it up! . The children are wonderful and they love to come out with us on duckling watch but they have to work hard to become a junior warden – it’s an honour for them to support their community.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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