I was honoured and surprised when I was elected as chairman of Leigh-on-Sea Town Council. I joined the Council hoping to make a positive difference to Leigh and the people who live there. I have been involved with the fishing industry for many years and been active in the Essex Yacht Club. I am also the skipper of the Dunkirk little ship, Endeavour. I was also helmsman on the Southend Lifeboat for 30 years, so Leigh and the sea are in my DNA.
I love Leigh and I will take you on a short walk that will describe why I like it so.
One of my favourite walks is along Leigh Cliff Parade. The view at the top of the cliff never ceases to give me pleasure. In the autumn and winter months to stand here and catch one of the spectacular sunrises over Southend Pier sets you up for the day; the colours and shades are breath taking. To the west you have the green of the open grass and trees taking your eyes to the countryside. Then you have the sea and marshes in the distance; an ever-changing view, much depending on the time of day and whether the tide is in or out.
There is much wildlife along this stretch, green woodpecker’s nest along the path near the railway, badgers and foxes are a common sight if you are patient. Bluetits and robins dominate, but in the summer months large flocks of goldfinches often gather and fly up and down the cliffs.
One of the things that had perplexed me for some time was the litter around the bins on the grass in the mornings, youths and foxes got the blame but that was until I spotted a regular visitor to my garden. It was White Wing the Crow - a very distinct jet-black crow with a flash of white in its right wing. We caught him one morning emptying the bin one piece at a time looking for tit bits from the take-away rappers.
Further along we come to the Victorian Shelter forgotten and neglected for so long and now getting a face lift from the Friends of Leigh Cliffs. They have achieved so much over recent months rejuvenating the gardens. They have cleaned, planted and tidied up, bringing new life to what appeared to have been a forgotten gem. I can not wait to see the results in the spring when it all comes back to life.
Walking further to west we stand above the Belvedere; the view opens up overlooking the bend in the creek. A fine place to stand and take in this glorious vista of the marshes and vessels passing along the creek.
A great place to watch the Brent geese in the autumn as they spiral round and round in their thousands.
A great place to watch magnificent and stunning sunsets over Canvey Island.
A short walk but full of excitement if you care to look.