Why did you get involved in Sheffield Renewables?
I’ve been a water power enthusiast all my life, right back to being a toddler fascinated with Shepherd Wheel. When I first encountered Sheffield Renewables at the Green Fair in Summer 2009 I was ecstatic about the Kelham Island project and determined to help it happen, for the huge cultural and historical significance of Sheffield once again having a commercially operating water wheel as well as the renewable energy generated. “Zuppinger Water Wheel” was entered into Google and You Tube as soon as I got home.
What do you do for Sheffield Renewables?
My involvement has included helping to survey levels along the Kelham Island goit to establish the head that can be achieved, gaining experience in using a theodolite for the first time. I have also helped to organise rubbish and silt clearing workdays, consulting the Environment Agency on pollution control considerations and ordering the collection of the rubbish we clean out. Of course I also take part in the workdays themselves, which are always a lot of fun.
How do you benefit from your involvement with Sheffield Renewables?
Working with people who share my ambitions and philosophies. As the politicians and business leaders are in denial over the poisoning of the planet and direction that society is heading, you can’t go far wrong by joining a small group of enlightened people who get up off their backsides and do something. I also relish the opportunity of having some involvement in a water wheel project, feeling that I have waited all my life for this to happen!
What do you do when you’re not volunteering with Sheffield Renewables?
I work for Moors for the Future, based at Edale. The work involves conserving and restoring moorland which is vital work for so many reasons, such as biodiversity, recreation, carbon sequestration by formation of peat from sphagnum moss, curbing the sedimentation of reserviours and providing a store of water to release slowly into rivers to reduce flood risk. I work on contract management for tasks such as fencing, walling, bracken spraying and the blocking of grips (moorland ditches) to reverse the rather dotty post war idea of draining moorland for agricultural productivity. I work on Yorkshire Water land in the Pennines, from Thurlstone and Snailsden Moors, the source of the River Don, to as far north as Nidderdale. In my spare time I am a keen folk musician who plays fiddle and mouth organ, often playing in Fagan’s on Friday night. I am also currently restoring a 3ft 6in wooden model water wheel I built when I was 14.