Category Archives: Stanley Park

Volunteers celebrate as Stanley Park visitor centre reopens

Home | Blackpool Gazette

The visitor centre at Stanley Park has reopened for the first time in 18 months after being shut since the first lockdown in March last year.

 

Four of the Friends of Stanley Park who volunteer in the centre from left Carol Lee, Lynn Patterson, Jacqui Veazey and Gill Howard.

Four of the Friends of Stanley Park who volunteer in the centre from left Carol Lee, Lynn Patterson, Jacqui Veazey and Gill Howard.

Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park are back manning the council-owned centre while events and groups including the dog club are back in place.

The relaunch has been marked with an exhibition by the Blackpool Boys and Girls Club craft club with the centre open Thursday to Sunday.

The traditional Macmillan Coffee Morning will be held on the weekend of September 25 and 26, Blackpool Civic Trust art competition and exhibition from September 23, and events for Hallowe’en on October 30 and 31.

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“We need to look how we can do more to attract visitors to the park as well as serve our local community better .

“We have seen a huge growth in visitor numbers and need to build on this to ensure the park continues for the next 100 years and we leave a great positive legacy for the future by having a more vibrant Park community.”

 

Stanley Park lake funding bid fails but still hope for alternative solutions

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A bid for up to £1m towards dredging Stanley Park Lake has been unsuccessful but hopes remain of finding a long term solution to eradicate the algae which affects the water feature.

 

The council had applied for funding from the Innovative Flood Resilience Fund in partnership with the Wyre Rivers Trust for the work to be carried out.

A town hall spokesperson said: “The bid for funding at the lake was unsuccessful but the team continues to look for other funding sources.”

Algae and pond weed has spread across the surface of the lake in recent years and a feasability study was carried out in 2019 to look at ways of managing the problem.

A boat removing pond weed at the lake earlier this yearA boat removing pond weed at the lake earlier this year

Dredging the lake would make it deeper and reduce exposure of the algae and pond weed to sunlight thus controlling its spread naturally.

Lisa Arnold, leisure services manager at Blackpool Council, told a meeting of the Scrutiny Leadership Board earlier this year that cutting back the pond weed each year was “a costly and labour intensive process.”

It also caused the weed to “grow more vigorously the following year so it just perpetuates the issue.”

Ms Arnold said work to dredge the lake and remove sludge from the bottom would help reduce flooding and added “if we can deepen it the algae and weed do not reach the sunlight”, therefore restricting their spread naturally.

Some work was done In April to control the problem when specialist operators were brought into remove the surface weed by Hagop Tchobanian, who operates concessions at the park including the pleasure boats.

He took action because the weed had been getting tangled up in the boats’ motors and oars, preventing them from being able to operate properly on the lake.

 

Nigel is the new man at the helm at Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

For many people, Stanley Park became the most important destination in Blackpool during lockdown as a place to exercise and meet friends outdoors.

 

And as we hopefully put the worst of the Covid pandemic behind us, it will no doubt continue to play a vital role in many residents’ lives.

So Nigel Patterson, who has been installed as the new chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park and Salisbury Woodland, knows there will be many challenges ahead as he takes over the reigns.

But having retired from a long career which included looking after Blackpool Tower and the Winter Gardens, he is well placed to accept the test.

New chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park Nigel PattersonNew chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park Nigel Patterson

He has taken over from Elaine Smith who has stepped down after a total of 12 years as chairman.

Nigel, who is married to Lynne and has a daughter Samantha and a two-year-old grandson, was formerly operations director at First Leisure when it owned the Tower, the Winter Gardens and the resort’s three piers.

He then worked in the motorway services industry – introducing branded food outlets nationwide – before joining a maintenance company which employed 10,000 people and included every Asda in the country as a client.

But he is clearly not a person to sit back on his laurels – or to think life is just a bed of roses – to use two phrases his latest position may relate to.

Nigel said: “I’ve been a member of the Friends group for five years after calling in at the visitor centre where Elaine thrust a membership form into my hand.

“Working with the voluntary sector is all proving new to me but the volunteers are at the heart of the Friends of Stanley Park and I’m just a cog in the wheel.

“I understand people and the attractions business, but the attraction here belongs to the council and we are just a Friends group, but an important Friends group.”

Nigel has a hard act to follow, with Stanley Park being named the best park in the country twice under Elaine’s watch.

But he is keen to look ahead and ensure the open space remains relevant to up and coming generations – and that includes promoting activities like BMX and skateboarding which today’s youngsters opt for.

Plans have been approved to convert a disused basketball court into a new facility for use by skateboarders, bikers and scooter riders.

Nigel said: “The council is aware of the development opportunities we can work together on, and the new skate park is one of those.

“It’s a joint initiative between ourselves, the council and the skateboard community. We have to move with the times but quality decisions will be right at the end of the day.”

One thing Nigel is already planning ahead for is the park’s centenary in 2026, but in the shorter term he is looking forward to bringing back many of the traditonal events such as the Hallowe’en weekend with fancy dress and the famous pumpkin carving competition.

These also help to raise vital funds which are reinvested back into the park.

He said: “Fundraising is important and we haven’t raised any money during lockdown, but that will correct itself because we haven’t spent anything either.

“As we go forward we are going to need more volunteers as well. For example events at the bandstand are not going to restart until next year, but when they do because of new regulations we’ll need more volunteers to help.”

Despite all the goodwill surrounding the park, there are sadly those who do not respect it, and vandalism and irresponsible dog owners are two of the worst culprits according to Nigel.

However a £200,000 CCTV system has now been installed to improve security, and a vibrant dog club is helping spread the message on canine care.

He said: “Vandalism disgusts me and I say to any parent whose children are committing vandalism, the park has been here nearly 100 years and we need it for another 100 years.

“Do you know what your children were doing last night?

“Also to dog walkers, I say pick up your dog’s mess and be aware dogs should be on a lead in busy areas of the park.”

Nigel is keen to pay tribute to the legacy Elaine has left behind, and his main hope is to build on that.

He added: “We have a huge debt of gratitude to a lady who has given so many years to the park.

“I’ll do it my way because things move on. And I hope what has happened in lockdown, with so many Blackpool residents enjoying the park will mean they will continue to support us.”

The Stanley Park Visitor Centre is due to reopen on September 7 after being closed since March 2020.

Macmillan coffee mornings will take place on September 25 and 26.

The Hallowe’en Weekend will be back on October 30/31 with chidren’s fancy dress, a pumpkin carving competition and entertainment.

Anyone wanting to join the Friends of Stanley Park or volunteer can contact Nigel on 07721 446038.

 

Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

Volunteers left ‘heartbroken’ as thieves strip roses from Blackpool’s Stanley Park

 

The latest incident saw 21 blooms taken in a single week bringing the total stolen this year to 70, while the toll over the past three years adds up to 150.

Up to £7,000 worth of heritage roses have been stolen, all of which had been paid for through fundraising by the Friends of Stanley Park, whose volunteers also plant and tend the roses.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “It’s heartbreaking for the volunteers who are there every day.

Alan Wignall,  Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.Alan Wignall, Rose Garden volunteers team leader, with (from left) Terry Harrison, Terry Wallis, Diane Glister, Sue Osborne and Pam Harrison, at one of the beds stripped of roses.

“The Rose Garden looked beautiful a few weeks ago and now it’s decimated.”

A survey by the Friends of Stanley Park has found 150 roses have been stolen in three years including 70 this year.

Blackpool police have confirmed they are aware of the incidents, while CCTV cameras have been installed in a bid to deter further thefts.

The latest plant raids happened on Tuesday June 15 and Wednesday June 16 from the Rose Garden, and it is believed the thefts happened at night.

Mrs Smith added: “Volunteers from the Friends of Stanley Park look after both the Rose Garden and the Memorial Garden.

“Because of the heritage status of the park every bed in the Rose Garden has to be planted with roses as near as possible to those originally planted when the park was laid out by Thomas Mawson, so we can’t easily replace them.

“They are just being pulled up and it’s distressing to see.

“We’ve also had other plants stolen from the Memorial Gardens. Volunteers have grown them at home, planted them out and them someone comes along and helps themselves.

“Some of our volunteers have even gone searching at car boot sales to see if they are being stolen to be sold.

“They are putting hours of work in and then this kind of thing happens.”

A £200,000 CCTV system has now been installed in the park, with 16 cameras including coverage of the Rose Garden which it is hoped will deter future incidents and help catch the culprits.

A Lancashire Police spokesperson said the rose thefts had been reported to them.

Stanley Park was constructed between 1924 and 1926 to designs by Thomas Mawson.

It has twice been named best park in the UK including in 2019 by the green space charity Fields in Trust based on public nominations.

Anyone interested in the work done by the volunteer gardeners at Stanley Park, can go along to the Rose Garden between 10.30am and 2.30pm on Saturday June 26 to meet the team.

Poignant ceremony at Veterans Walk in Blackpool’s Stanley Park

Home | Blackpool Gazette

A poignant dedication and memorial ceremony has taken place on the Veterans Walk area of Blackpool’s Stanley Park.

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees are unveiled in the Veterans Walk area of Stanley Park

Three new memorial trees and plaques were unveiled, dedicated to three recipients – the NHS, Blackpool Palatine Rotary’s blood bike service and the Friends of Stanley Park.

There were already 12 oak trees and plaques along this part of the park, many of them devoted to lost servicemen and women in various wars and conflicts while others are in honour of emergency services and community organisations.

It was intended to add the latest three trees last year, but the Covid restrictions intervened.

Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.Blood Bike rider and rotarian Mark Rooker with Terry Harrison, president of Palatine Rotary and Elaine Smith from Friends of Stanley Park.

The project , which has cost around £5,000 overall, has been overseen by the Friends of Stanley Park, who contributed most of the funds, supported by Blackpool Palatine Rotary Club.

The memorial unveiling was attended by Lancashire Deputy Lieutenant John Barnett MBE, who gave a speech, as well as representatives of all three recipients.

Elaine Smith, chairman of the Friends of Stanley Park, said: “Veterans Walk is a lovely part of the park which honours those who have provided service, including those who lost their lives in times of conflict.

“We have wanted to include these extra trees for some time but just when we were ready early last year, Covid struck.

Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.Peter Murphy and Jim Gardner from Blackpool Teaching Hospitals with the tree dedicated to the NHS.

“Because of the ongoing restrictions, we didn’t have as many people there are the unveiling as we would have wanted, but it was wonderful to have the Deputy Leuitenant there.”

She added: “We have lost some of our members in the Friends group, because of Covid, so we thought it was also a fitting way to honour them too.”

Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.Joyce Street and Elaine Smith from the Friends of Stanley Park.

One of the plaques unveiled on the dayOne of the plaques unveiled on the day