Lincoln man’s 700 hour mission to build community pond

One Lincoln man has spent over 700 hours volunteering to completely renovate a pond and build a community area for everyone to enjoy.

Ian Callaghan has been praised as a local hero for working in his spare time to build Bluebell Pond in Skellingthorpe.

The 45-year-old started last year by dredging the water and clearing all of the overgrowth in the surrounding area.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

With no funds available, Ian had to do all of the work by hand in between working as a driver for the Ministry of Defence before word got out about what he was doing.

Local businesses like Travis Perkins, TFM Country Store and GBM Demolition then started donating gravel, wood and other materials to make Bluebell Pond into a real community hub.

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Now there are benches, a platform over the water, handrails and even a bicycle maintenance station.

Ian opened the pond officially on Wednesday, May 29 and told The Lincolnite: “It was really tough some days while working through rain, mud and even ice.

“Sometimes I considered giving up on tough days but there was always someone there willing me on to keep going.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Ian has worked every spare hour possible to make the pond into something special. He even spent four solid days digging up the stump of a willow tree.

When asked what motivated the work, Ian pointed to children who were using fishing nets to capture wildlife in the pond.

“That is what drives me to keep going,” he added. “My children have all grown past that age but we need to give them opportunities to go outside rather than sit inside playing games.

Bluebell Pond is a place to learn and explore. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Welcome to Bluebell Pond. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

“A lot of people have said they are worried about vandals but if we thought like that all the time then we wouldn’t get anything done, would we?”

Lots of people passing by the pond on a walk congratulated Ian and commented that it was a “job well done.”

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

A bike repair station. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

A place to rest. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

It isn’t the first time or the last that Ian will work on a community space for Skellingthorpe.

He built Willow Glade nearby and also wants to get funding to build a 200-metre long woodland walk in the same area.