Making a difference was the aim for 80 staff from ExxonMobil at Fawley who took a day out of their busy work schedules to team up for an annual Day of Caring event.

This was the 11th year running that the Fawley site has staged Day of Caring, which has so far given a helping hand to 48 different charities, schools, and community or conservation groups by encouraging staff to volunteer their time.

The aim of the event is to provide skills and manpower to help carry out a task or project which would otherwise be difficult or impossible to achieve.

This year, five worthy causes were selected to receive help.

  • The first set of volunteers went to St John’s Church, Hythe, where they gave the churchyard a good spruce up, re-layed the gravel path and sanded and oiled the oak double doors at the entrance to the church.
  • The next group travelled to Marwell Zoo where 4,500 presents awaited wrapping in time for the charity’s Christmas grotto.
  • Third on the list for assistance was St Anne’s Neighbourhood Centre, in Warrys Close, Butts Ash, near Hythe, where several rooms were given a much-needed lick of paint.
  • The fourth project was at Twiggs Lane Pre-School, in Marchwood. Here, 15 volunteers spent the day putting up a new trellis fence, painting two storage sheds, jet-washing the playground floor and fixing a new coat rail to the classroom wall.
  • A 60ft shrub bed, in desperate need of weeding, awaited volunteers at Minstead Training Trust, in the New Forest. As well as stripping the bed back to its soil base, the ExxonMobil helpers also put down new bark and gravel in other areas of the 17-acre gardens.

Bev Spanswick, from Minstead Training Trust, was delighted with the work carried out.

The charity offers services in residential and day care, plus hands-on training in work, life and social skills to adults who have learning disabilities.

Bev said: “We are extremely grateful to everyone who took part in the Day of Caring event. I can’t believe what was achieved in such a short time.

The borders and terrace look absolutely amazing thanks to everyone’s hard graft.

It was a fabulous team effort and we are very grateful to everyone involved.”

Jon Wetmore, Refinery Manager at Fawley, said the Day of Caring event was always an important part of the site’s calendar.

“To have an opportunity to give something back to the community in this way is something which we look forward to every year,” he said.

“It is wonderful to hear all the positive feedback and to know that we have been able to make a difference to these worthy causes.”