Garry Purnell – Joint Chair/Deputy Chairphoto

Hello, I’m Garry
I’m the current Joint Chair/Deputy Chair of WOW. I also write the quarterly newsletter, The Widewater Rundown. I am lucky enough to live on the lagoon with my wife Gill. Our dog, Tilly loves walking around the local nature reserve and beach. I feel it’s important to look after areas like this for current and future generations to enjoy. I hope you visit us, enjoy it and if so, let us know your views. Thank you!

Paula BaP1010156ker – Joint Chair/Deputy Chair

Hi, My name is Paula Baker and I have lived on the Widewater since spring 2013.  I moved from the countryside at the edge of Brighton to this beautiful coastal spot on the lagoon and love waking up to the constantly changing scenes from my window.  I recently retired as a school business manager, and since rescuing a lively young dog, I am enjoying long walks along the beach and into Shoreham.  Voluntary work at the Dog’s Trust, and learning the ukulele ensures I keep busy and through the trust and WOW I have made many new friends in the area.


Joanne ProcterJo Procter – Joint Shared Secretary

Hi, My name is Jo Procter.  My love affair with the beautiful Widewater began several years ago when my husband and I were out for a walk and noticed that some new houses were being built here. It was the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. I soon found that I was spending a huge amount of time observing the swans who live and nest here and the more I watched and read about them the more passionate I became. I left my job as a drama teacher to pursue my new interest and I now spend as much time as I can working as a volunteer at the Swan Sanctuary in Shepperton where I have learned how to handle, rescue and care for sick and injured swans.

I have been fortunate in living in many areas with my family and we didn’t think that our home in Cornwall could be bettered. Until now. There is something quite unique and magical about the Widewater and I am very happy to be involved in W.O.W and to be able to play a small part in caring for this environment. Oh, and I’m the secretary by the way!

Nick and Mel Bengtsson – Treasurer


Gill PurnellGill Purnell – Membership Secretary

Hello, my name is Gill Purnell.
I have lived on the Brighton Road for several years and absolutely love it!.   I live here with my husband Garry and our little Wadar dog ‘Tilly’. We have two grown up daughters who love to visit with their friends and enjoy the delights of such a lovely unspoilt area.   I am a Social Worker by profession and find it very hard to leave the changing delights of the lagoon each day as I leave for work.   I am the membership secretary for WOW  and am very mindful of the need for such an organisation to be a local voice for the protection of the lagoon. For me the most exciting aspect of living near to the Lagoon is the variety of seasonal colours, array of wildlife and birdlife and to see so many people walking along the coastal path just enjoying nature.

Julia Gill  –  Membership Secretary from September 2016


Elizabeth ChapmanElizabeth Chapman – Community Liaison Officer

Hi, I’m Elizabeth.

I have known and regularly visited Lancing Widewater since I was 5 years old and travelled the 60 miles with my family to our Beach hut here. I fell in love with the area and was lucky enough to buy a house backing onto the Widewater and overlooking our Beach hut about 30 years ago. Inspite of great sadness when my beloved husband died in 1990 I feel fortunate to still be living here and enjoying the natural wonders of this special unique place: the sunsets, the water with all the birds, swans and other diverse wildlife that it supports.   It is great to be able to share the pleasure of Widewater with friends and acquaintances both old and new.   Together we will hopefully be able to play a part in helping to preserve this Nature Reserve for future generations to enjoy.

Dave Baldwin

Hi, I’m Dave Baldwin and am a retired bank manager.  Originally from Keighley, but via Silsden and Embsay, Yorkshire.   Eve and I discovered the Widewater quite by accident, whilst looking for a property in 2012.  We didn’t believe that the view from our barn conversion in Embsay could be bettered but it has (with the exception of us no-longer having a steam railway at the bottom of our garden).  After being at least 60 miles from the coast we’re now a mere 60 metres from the coast.

The wildlife on the lagoon is constantly changing as is the weather, with unbelievable sunrises and sunsets.  It’s just like living in your very own wildlife sanctuary!

I am also the Treasurer of the Worthing & District Society of Model Engineers (despite having no ‘engineering’ skills) and our ‘Public Running’ days are well worth a visit, where we make children of all ages welcome.

Like everyone else says, the Widewater IS a really SPECIAL place and MUST BE PROTECTED, so why not pay us a visit and then join our organisation?

Wendy Cook  

Marion Wood

Francis Garrard

I have lived on the Widewater for over sixty years and have experienced living on the Lagoon through many changes.

Suzi Capey

I live on the Widewater Lagoon and am passionate about the beauty of the area.  I have just retired and am eager to support WOW and get to know the members.

Working Groups

For larger projects, for example the information panels and feasibility of a new visitors centre on the lagoon we form small working groups, which report back to the full committee at meetings. This has proven a successful and productive model of work and means that each group has members with the particular interest of the project’.