The 2022 Preston Park calendar is now available

Our 2022 calendar, featuring the winning entries from this year’s photo competition is now available to purchase from the Chalet and Rotunda cafes, priced at £5.

Hurry to get your copy as we are down to the last 20 copies!

See a PDF copy here

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Volunteering in Preston Park

If you would like to volunteer and you are not yet a member of Friends of Preston Park, sign up here and tick the box for volunteering. If you are already a member, use our contact form to register your interest. For more information, go to our volunteering page.

And here’s a nice article in Sussex ByLines about Preston Park garden manager, Andy Jeavons, and his gardening volunteers.

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And the first prize goes to Andrew Murphy

Andrew with his prize

Andrew Murphy is the winner of the 2021 Photo Competition. Here is his winning picture …

Andrew took the picture on his Galaxy smartphone.

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Update on the Wildlife Pond

Some of you may not know that there is a wildlife pond in St Peter’s churchyard, just to the north of the Coronation Garden. The pond had a big leak due to mindless vandalism some time ago and has become very overgrown so Friends of Preston Park has made a donation so it can be fully repaired.

Andy Jeavons and some of our volunteers stripped all of the undergrowth back so that a new concert base and lining could be built. Shelves and planters will now be created around the edges to encourage wildlife, and it will be finished with natural stones and a protective fence made of hazel strips. Once it is filled with water, there will be appropriate planting.

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We have reached our target for the Cheery Blossom Walk

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We’re pleased to announce that we have raised £9000 to create a fabulous new cherry blossom walk in Preston Park.

We were amazed to hit our target in less than two weeks, and we were told by JustGiving that we were one of the top 1% of most successful fundraising in September! This is thanks to all of you who were so responsive and generous in your donations. It was a great community effort and every single donation was very much appreciated by us all.

As soon as we reached our target, we were able to set work with the arboriculture team of City Parks, and they have been able to order 40 Prunus X Yedoensis trees, which are the traditional Japanese white flowering cherry blossoms. As they have a flat canopy that spreads 8-10 metres, we will be able to plant the trees 10 metres rather than 5 metres apart for the same effect. We will also be able to plant up both the path between the tennis courts and the Rose Garden and the path from the front of the Park to the former Bowling Pavilion, thus completing the whole project in one year rather than two.

The trees will be delivered around Christmas in 45-litre pots, and they will already be between 2m and 3m high. The advantage of them being potted rather than bare-rooted is that when they are planted the trees will put all their energy into growing upwards rather than into developing their roots first. As our appeal has now reached £9000, we will also be able to fund the securing stakes, green bags for watering and other related planting costs. Any remaining funds will be used for the commemoration plaque and signage.

We will let you know when the trees arrive and when planting will start, in line with weather conditions. We will need plenty of volunteers for digging the holes for planting! We are now closing the Cherry Blossom funding appeal, so once again, a big thank you to you all.

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Lighting up the rockery

A new LED lighting system has been installed in the rockery. Andy Jeavons took these wonderful pictures:

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A £100K upgrade to the Preston Park play area

The Council has started a fantastic £100,000 refurbishment of Preston Park play area. The work will include the installation of a new fun-filled fully-connected adventure climbing trail that leads to two long slides down a hilly embankment. There will also be new steps up and down the embankment to a ‘snakes and ladders’ castle, plus 30 challenges to get there.

Also included are an exciting new pendulum swing and carousel, plus new surfaces and an extended path through the area. Old favourites like the swings, toddler huts, roundabout and picnic zone will remain to complete the enjoyment.

Unfortunately, the work will take four weeks during which time the playground will be closed.

There’s more info on the Council’s website

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It’s time for daffodil planting

Stocks of daffodil bulbs have arrived …

And our gardening volunteers have been out in force planting them in the borders along the A23. Some 18500 were planted on Tuesday alone …

Two varieties have been planted to give two shows come the Spring. And that’s something to look forward to!

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Announcing the winners for this year’s photo competition

Voting is complete for this year’s competition. More than 500 people voted and they have chosen their favourites.

Pictures from the following photographers have been selected for the calendar:

Sue Blight
Edward Farragher
Suzan Flanagan
Jilly Welch
Peter Levenspiel
Jane Lythell Clarke
Skylar McGillivray
Andrew Murphy
Lawrence Suss
Anne Bonwit
Therona Fraser
Rosalie Nickerson
Bill Palmer

Congratulations to them all and to everyone else who participated and made this year’s competition so successful.

The calendars are being printed and will be available by the end of November in the two cafes in the park at £5 each.

We will be awarding prizes to the three most popular photos and these will be announced at our AGM on 25th November.

You can see the shortlisted photos here.

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Help preserve and celebrate one of the Preston Twins

The Preston Twins are among the oldest and largest elms in the world. Unfortunately, one had to be felled due to Elm Disease and has been moved temporarily to the Secret Garden in Kemptown. Please help us to preserve and celebrate this gracious tree and relocate it back to Preston Park where it will be enjoyed by the community for years to come.

Artists impression (Sam Harris)

Find out more or go straight to the JustGiving website now.

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Walled garden

Many people have also been concerned with the state of the walled garden and the grounds of Preston Manor generally. As we reported previously, Preston Manor and grounds are now the responsibility of the Royal Pavilion and Museums Trust, not City Parks, but as the grounds open adjoin Preston Park, we still have many shared interests and we have established good links and contacts with the new team at Preston Manor.

Chris Drake, the Development and Operations Manager, has kindly informed us that a new Head Gardener and part-time gardener have been appointed to cover Preston Manor and the Pavilion grounds. Five of the volunteers are undergoing leadership training which means the groups will be able to meet regularly and follow a structured process. Already the garden and grounds are looking smarter and tidier and will improve further as volunteering re-commences.

The pond in the walled garden, which had been vandalised last year, has now been fully repaired.

Preston Manor’s opening days have been reduced to Saturdays, Sunday afternoon and Mondays due to staff shortages as other museums in Brighton have re-opened. The knock-on effect of this is that the gates between Preston Park and the Walled Garden can now only be unlocked on these days. Preston Manor would much prefer to give open access to the public to the Walled Garden but this is the only way to protect Preston Manor from high levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism. This is a great pity but we understand and share the concerns of the Preston Manor staff. 

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