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Smitten Bitterns! A Minsmere Romance

Bitterns mating Photo credit: Les Cater

Les Cater captured this unique image of two bitterns mating at RSPB Minsmere.

He was on hand to meet Andrew as he arrived with the Emily Williamson statue design. Minsmere is one of the reserves that will receive a share of the money raised by Andrew's RSPB Eastern 400 cycle ride. Please donate at Andrew's fundraising page.

One of Les's favourite photos is of the bearded tit.

Photo credit: Les Cater

The Stevenson family from Hong Kong were on holiday visiting Minsmere. Jack was fascinated by the birds in Emily's skirt that visitor experience manager Abbie was pointing out. Father Craig admired the statue's rough metallic finish.

Craig and Jack Stevenson with Teresa Tung looking on as Abbie highlights features in the statue. Picture credit: Les Cater

Margaret, from Oulton Broad near Lowestoft, had seen an albatross land on the mast of the boat she was on in the Galapagos Islands. Seeing it in the skirt's design was a delight for her. "The birds have been added without distracting from Emily herself".

Margaret from Oulton Broad. Picture credit: Les Cater

Penny Baker and Ros Caulfield had travelled to Minsmere to see the statue design.

Penny Baker and Ros Caulfield. Photo credit: Les Cater

Today, Saturday 29th, Emily moves on to RSPB Lakenheath Fen. She will be there from 11.00 a.m. to midday. So why not visit the reserve and say hello to Manchester Councillor Andrew Simcock and the Emily Williamson statue design?

At midday Andrew resumes his 400 mile cycle ride. Half the money he raises will go towards vital conservation efforts at the eight RSPB reserves he is visiting on the ride. The other half will go towards funding a permanent statue to the female founder of the UK’s largest nature conservation charity.

To donate to the fundraising campaign please visit Andrew's fundraising page.

Andrew then heads for RSPB Strumpshaw Fen arriving on Monday morning (31st July).

Andrew on a training run in Bollington, Cheshire

The Emily Williamson statue will be placed in Fletcher Moss Park, Didsbury, Manchester, where Emily lived when she founded the RSPB in 1889.

Cycling 400 miles and visiting eight RSPB nature reserves across six counties Andrew is aiming to raise £5,000.

Andrew’s RSPB Eastern 400 ride will take him to eight RSPB reserves in the six counties of Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, beginning 23 July and finishing Wednesday 2 August, He is aiming to raise £5,000 towards the fundraising goal of £100,000 and half of the funds raised with be shared among the RSPB reserves he is visiting.

Eve Shepherd with her winning design

In December 2020 a competition was launched by author and journalist Tessa Boase and Andrew, in partnership with the RSPB, to design a statue of Emily Williamson (1855-1936). The four shortlisted designs were unveiled on the centenary of The Plumage Act (1 July 2021), the RSPB’s first legislation triumph and the result of Emily’s long campaign.

Brighton based sculptor Eve Shepherd’s winning design was then made available as 20 limited edition 40 cm high bronze maquettes which are also for sale as part of the fundraising efforts for the life-sized sculpture of Emily.

To find out more please go to

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