The outline plan was to create a quiet retreat that would allow access for Veterans/carers whether they are disabled or not.
So to do this we sat down and looked at what our folks would like and we applied this to make a plan consisting of 3 phases:
To clean out the water course and make good the river bank to allow access.
To install different species of native coarse fish, which are Roach, Perch, Tench, Rudd and Pike.
To install disabled fishing stands and connect these by a pathway leading from a car park and what we are most proud of a disabled accessible bridge.
These have all been successfully installed.The only work still requiring to do will be to restore the original dry stone walls.Also replace existing cattle fencing etc.(volunteers are always welcome here).
The location is called Kennedy’s Bog [local county Down slang ] means lake it was created around the time of the Ice Age by means of a geological fault. When we started with the excavations to clean the lake of silt we found really old wood and an Elk Antlers, plus other things including a WW1 Army boot and many bottles spanning 2 centuries.
I can personally say that there have been times during it that i started to feel the hand of failure on my right shoulder. When we had a really bad spell of wet and windy weather and also when we had to float the bridge off its stands in order to save it.
Then it was a race to get it pulled back onto them again as the water level was falling so fast. I suffered bouts of severe depression and my right leg gave out and had me hospitalised. But deep down I just kept my shoulder to the wheel and kept going because this project is too good to pass up as in terms of what it will do to help people rebuild their lives.
As the weather finally improves and you see wildlife and the fish jumping in the water on any calm evening only then do you realise what this place can really achieve.
Next year we plan to prepare if we get sufficient funding to hand over a 2 bedroom log cabin which is situated beside the lake. So that not only will we be able to offer fishing tuition/equipment but we can then offer week end and respite stays for veterans/carers to help alleviate PTSD.
So please make a wonderful gesture to allow this project to grow and produce fruit by making a donation to Let’s Do Veterans Support & Rehabilitation Limited nic 105434.
Yours in Service Rob Maxwell [charity Secretary and remaining founder].