New use for Green Goddess

VIDEO They've been used to help fight fires.They were designed to help shift thousands of gallons of water in the event of a nuclear attack.Now a new purpose has been found for the iconic Green Goddess water pump - helping to restore Ipswich's finest park.

THEY'VE been used to help fight fires.

They were designed to help shift thousands of gallons of water in the event of a nuclear attack.

Now a new purpose has been found for the iconic Green Goddess water pump - helping to restore Ipswich's finest park.

Volunteers who have restored a Green Goddess dating from the early 1950s offered their machine to rangers after hearing they were having a problem filling the round pond at Christchurch Park.

The pond gets its regular water supply from the nearby - and much larger - wilderness pond.

However after it was emptied, dredged, and cleaned as part of the restoration of Christchurch Park, it would have taken years to fill naturally.

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But after reports about the park needing to pump water into the round pond were published in The Evening Star, Mel Skeet and members of Suffolk Fire Engine Services offered their machine.

And yesterday the vintage machine was used to pump about 200,000 gallons of water from the Wilderness Pond to the Round Pond.

Mel Skeet, head of Suffolk Fire Engine Services, which owns the Green Goddess that was used, said: “The Wilderness Pond is self-filling. Once it was dug it actually filled itself up in between three and five weeks.

“The Round Pond's natural filling ability has long stopped working.

“When I realised the pond needed filling I thought it would be a great chance to use the pump as we were going to test it somewhere else anyway, and this way we could help out at the same time.”

So the Green Goddess, which was built in 1953 but has travelled less than 3,000 miles, rose to the challenge before it.

Mr Skeet added: “They are perfect for the job. We put a suction in the Wilderness Pond. The water goes through the Goddess and through a 6in pipe and we dropped it off in the Round Pond.

“It is actually more efficient at pumping large amounts of water that a modern fire engine.

“It was built for rough terrain and a possible nuclear aftermath to distribute water, so it is perfect.”

Judy Terry, the borough's leisure spokeswoman, said: "We are grateful to Suffolk Fire Engine Services for their help.

“The Wilderness Pond fills up in a matter of weeks but the Round Pond could otherwise take until next year.

“This will bring to an end our work on the pond, which is now back to its Victorian glory.”

Have you used an old piece of equipment for an unusual task? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

Green Goddesses

Green Goddess is the name used to describe the Bedford RLHZ Self Propelled Pump.

They were originally built for the Auxiliary Fire Service and painted green to distinguish them from local authority fire brigade engines.

They were built between 1953 and 1956.

Green Goddesses main role was to pump large quantities of water into cities hit by a nuclear attack.

Since 1968 the vehicle have been occasionally used to provide cover during fire strikes, such as 1977 and 2002, and to pump water in floods and droughts.

Christchurch Park.

The park has been open to the people of Ipswich since the middle ages, when it was the site of an abbey.

It was bought by the Ipswich Corporation in 1895 and officially opened to the public that year - although people had always used the area.

The park is the most heavily used in the town.

In 2004 a lottery grant of £3.2 million was given to help restore it to its Victorian grandeur. The total cost of the restoration project is £4.4 million.

As part of the restoration project, both the wilderness and round ponds were drained, dredged and cleaned for the first time since the 1920s.

The park restoration, including the opening of a new visitor centre, should be completed later this year.

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