I’ve been a volunteer at Cogges ever since it re-opened to the public on the 17th June, 2011. I remember the opening day very clearly. It was a typical English Summer day, the rain never stopped. But this didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the hundreds of people who turned out to support us. There were lots of events going on. I remember that I was given the task of standing beside the enormous head of the Wicker Man. After a five-minute briefing on the history of it, I was then expected to answer any questions asked by members of the public. One example of the many challenges I’ve faced by being a volunteer over the years.
In its former life, the farm had been run as a living museum set in the Victorian era. At that time there were lots of animals such as, sheep, cows, chickens, a horse, rabbits and not forgetting the pigs. The ‘new’ Cogges didn’t have as many animals and by the end of the first season, the question that I, as a volunteer, remember being asked the most was, “Where are the pigs?” There was a mixed reaction from the public. Some of those who remembered it as it was were disappointed, but others who loved the place, were delighted to see it being used again. Those who’d never been before seemed to fall in love with the place and who could blame them. Where else would you find such a peaceful, idyllic place in the heart of a town?
In 2012, when Cogges once again opened for the season, much to the delight of the visitors, not to mention the relief of the volunteers, we were happy to greet the arrival of some piglets and pygmy goats.
Four years later and, thanks to the hard work on the part of the staff and volunteers, Cogges is thriving. Already this year we’ve exceeded visitors numbers from the same time last year. When visitors comment, it is to say how much they have enjoyed their visit. We have a large number of season ticket holders who are regularly to be seen enjoying a drink and a chat in the courtyard area while their children play on the tractor, or down in the woodland in the adventure play area.
But the public haven’t just shown their support by their continued presence. They’ve recently taken the time to vote for us in the Best in Witney awards, for which we won in the ‘Most Family Friendly’ category. Not only that, but we’ve also been nominated for the same category in the Muddy Stilettos award and even if we don’t win this one, we’re still honoured and thrilled to have been nominated.
We have a lot more to offer than we did in 2011. Colin and his team of staff and volunteers have worked hard and I’m proud to be part of that team. But a large part of the success of Cogges is down to the members of the public who have, and are still, giving us their wholehearted support. We’re very grateful for this and I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. We really couldn’t do it without your support.
Photos courtesy of Isabel and Cogges.
Wickerman courtesy of:- 335 x 448 | 53KB juegosinteractivospme.mx
Video courtesy of Oxbox.tv