Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Suiter

Blog post by Tim Suiter on 05 Feb, 2024

As part of our volunteer spotlight series we would like to shed some light on the wonderful work of Tim Suiter, a keen photographer, wildlife lover and volunteer reserve guide at Cley.

My wife and I moved to Norfolk 4 years ago from Nottingham, my hometown. I worked for 40 years in the music industry selling musical instruments, mainly guitars and related products, firstly in retail and for the last 25 years in distribution. I’ve played guitar in bands for most of that time and I continue to gig and record music whenever possible. 

Tim posing at Cley visitor centre

Tim posing at Cley visitor centre

I owe my connection to Norfolk and the north Norfolk coast to family roots in the county and most particularly to my grandparents owning a caravan on the pinewoods site in Wells Next The Sea. As a child I spent every available summer weekend there in the pinewoods, on the beach and fishing with my grandpa from the beaches all along the coast and from Cromer pier. This instilled in me a deep connection to the area and a love of wildlife. 

I’m also a keen photographer of especially wildlife, a member of the Cley bird club and the U3A digital photography group, plus I volunteer at Sculthorpe Hawk & Owl Trust monitoring the recent introduction of beavers to the site. My wife and I both love to travel and have been fortunate to visit many fascinating countries and experienced amazing wildlife, fascinating cultures and not forgetting the delicious food. 

Since my retirement I’ve been keen to find a positive use for my time. I have always loved the marshes at Cley and spent many happy hours bird watching on the reserve. Luckily we live only a few miles from NWT Cley so when the opportunity arose to become a reserve guide at Cley I jumped at the chance. I was hoping to make new friends and connections through volunteering and I’ve not been disappointed. 

I’ve been a reserve guide since October 2021 at Cley and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Some of the benefits I've gotten out of volunteering here include:

  • a feeling of making a positive contribution to the preservation of an important and world-renowned habitat and hopefully helping visitors understand and appreciate the beauty and importance of the area and enhance their enjoyment of it
  • free exercise! 
  • meeting new people and forming new friendships
  • learning more about the reserve and its wildlife every time I step out onto the reserve 

Apart from learning more and more each day about the subtle arts of bird Identification what has struck me most is the amount of work required on the reserve on a day to day basis to keep the marshes fit for purpose, not only to encourage all indigenous wildlife (not just the wonderful bird life), that currently call it home, but to make the reserve fit for the challenges that undoubtedly lay ahead with regards climate change and rising sea levels. 

Header image - Cley Marshes by Andi Sapey 

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