Last Tuesday’s beautiful day brought out tennis players, walkers, parents with buggies . . . and these gents. They were practising HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) on the pétanque court. The looked very impressive and fearsome as they wielded their swords, and attracted several onlookers.
Thanks to Leo, Edmund and Etienne. (Hope your knuckles hurt a little less now.)
Bill is a long-standing member of Preston Park staff. Here’s his story:
How well do you know the Preston area?
Well, I can trace my family here to around the 16th century. I’ve always lived here and played in the park as a child. I loved the playground and rode around with my friends on the cycle track. I remember the park policeman – we weren’t allowed in the shrubbery let alone set foot on the bowling green. We respected the police, and they knew all of us children. My uncle worked in Withdean Park and knew the gardeners of Preston Park.
So when did you join as a member of park staff?
I joined the Parks Department in 1977 as a Trainee. I was based in Dyke Road Park, but the training at that time lasted 3 years during which I spent 6 months in 6 park areas – including the seafront – as well as Preston Park. In 1979 there were 31 staff dedicated to Preston Park, including the Rock Garden and the Preston Manor area. In 1997 I was based in Preston Park.
What do you like about your job?
I like the variety. The different areas of the park, for instance the Rose Garden, the bedding, the sports and the estates work; that is, working in places like Hollingdean and Patcham housing estates. I reckon I spend about 50% of my time in Preston Park.
What don’t you like?
I don’t like the way the park looks run down. Nor do I like the way that some people fail to respect the park, for instance allowing children or dogs to run through the roses. A lot of roses have been destroyed that way. What would you like to see for the future of the park? I would love to see the flowerbeds along the road reinstated. We used to have such nice comments about them. If there was the money, I’d like to see the park how it was in its heyday – around 1910-1920: fenced and looking more stately. People would again take pride in their park. If I had a Lottery win I would like to think I’d put money towards realising that.
We’re pleased that the lovely pond in the Walled Garden has had its paved surround repaired. You may remember the pond was vandalised last year, its paving torn up and thrown into the water. Damage was caused to the lining of the pond which will take longer to rectify. In the meantime the dozens of fish for whom the pond is home are happy, and the pond looks good.
Our bid to Pride for £1000 from their community fund has been successful and we received the money into our account a few days ago. And our bid to Sussex Police for £500 from their police fund (money from the sale of unclaimed stolen property) has also been successful. PCSO Simon Turvey personally delivered the cheque:
This means we will be able to host this year’s park-promoting events without worrying about funding. Our thanks to Pride and to Sussex Police.
How would you like to have a fantabulistic Christmas wreath on your door made from the (professionally-sourced) greenery of the park at a risible cost of £3?
Then come to our wreath-making day: Sunday 11 December from 11am to 3pm in the men’s bowls pavilion.
Expert (!) tuition and all materials will be available to you, as well as festive music, hot drinks and mincers. It’s a great, festive event, guaranteed to put you in the Christmas spirit.
Our 2017 calendars are now on sale including the winner and twelve other excellent entries from this year’s photo competition. It only costs £5, with all proceeds going to our voluntary group’s fund. Use the Contact facility on this site to order yours.
More than five hundred of you joined us last night for the 2016 Halloween Lantern Walk. There were some fantastic costumes and lanterns on display. Well done to the prize winners who received chocolate cups and £20 Waterstones vouchers.
Thanks to our sponsors Fox & Sons and Sainsbury’s Local Preston Park, whose generosity made the event possible.
It’s coming up to that time again . . . Halloween . . . so, as we always do at this time of year, we are preparing for the Preston Park Halloween Lantern Walk.
We’d love to see you there – it’s a free, family event designed for accompanied children up to the age of thirteen. We’d like you to bring your home-made lanterns (no naked flames please, perhaps you would use battery-operated lights) and, if they want, children can dress up in scary costumes. Adults too can do their bit to scare away park demons by coming in fancy dress.
It’s on Saturday 29 October at the men’s bowls pavilion.
From 6pm there will be dry ice, scary music, Laura Brett – a story-teller of (not too) scary stories, and there will be the French Revolution stand selling sweet and savoury crepes and hot drinks.
At 7pm we’ll walk around the dark park with our lanterns to frighten away ghoulies and monsters.
After the walk there will be a prize awarded for the best children’s lantern, the best children’s costume and the best adult costume.
We’ll be there . . . will you?
Hearty thanks to this year’s sponsors: Sainsbury’s Local, Preston Park and Fox & Sons.