National cycling event at the velodrome

On Sun 29th May, Preston Park velodrome hosts the only national-level cycling event to take place in Brighton. It should be an exciting day of racing featuring the next generation of cycling stars, many of whom are already on the national talent development programme. The old flint seating or grandstand both make ideal spectating points, and Infinity Foods will be providing catering. Help us keep national-level competition alive at our historic velodrome!

Tree-Sure event: 29th and 30th May, 11.00 – 15.00

Join us at the Chalet Cafe on either of these two days for the launch of Preston Park’s very own Tree-Sure Island map, which has been developed by a local teacher who is a member of our committee, to help children identify many of the different beautiful trees in our Park and learn more about the many different varieties.

The map will be on sale for only £1 and children will be able to use it to find different trees in the park with the help of ‘Goldie,’ a helpful and friendly goldfinch who will give them things to do and observe to find out more.

Several volunteer student helpers will also be available to give help to children in finding the trees and finding out more information. I’m sure many parents will enjoy this event as much as the children! We hope lots of you will come to discover Tree-Sure Island in Preston Park!

Preston Twin dedicated to Queen to mark jubilee

The Preston Twin is one of 70 ancient trees set to be dedicated to Queen Elizabeth II to mark the Platinum Jubilee.

The elm is thought to be about 400 years old, and until 2019 was one of a pair standing in Preston Park.

Sadly, when Dutch Elm Disease struck one had to be felled, but the other one has so far survived.

The Prince of Wales announced the dedication yesterday as patron of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC).

Read more in Brighton & Hove News

So many wonderful pictures

A selection of the best entries from this year’s drawing competition on the theme ‘Easter in Preston Park’:

Thanks to Rose Jones for putting together these collages

Drawing competition winners

Here are the winners in the drawing competition from this year’s Easter Egg Hunt:

First prize: older children
Second prize: older children
First prize: younger children
Second prize: older children

Vandalism of new cherry trees: our statement

As you will no doubt have heard by now, on Friday night seven of our beautiful Cherry Blossom trees were savagely vandalised. We were absolutely devastated to see the broken trees and could not believe that such mindless acts could take place. Everyone passing by was equally appalled at this wanton act of vandalism and we continue to receive messages of shock and sympathy. It has also been reported widely on local radio, TV and in the Argus, as well as on social media. We want to tell you all what is happening next.

We, of course, reported this act of vandalism to Sussex Police but, to date, we have not had much news. Meanwhile, from reports given to us directly from members of the public, it would appear that a large group of youths, who seem to meet up in Preston Park regularly on Friday nights, were causing a lot of trouble for the security guards of the Brighton Marathon by pushing over barriers and entering the various tents trying to take away equipment. The guards called the police who arrived shortly after and dispersed this group from around the cafes. After the police left, the youths returned, reportedly acting even more aggressively throughout the night. Although there were no direct witnesses, it is very likely that the trees were vandalised while youths were climbing the walls of the old bowling greens. We will be asking Brighton and Hove Council and the police why more was not done to protect Preston Park for such a big event, especially as it is known that groups are regularly meeting after dark on Friday nights.

As for the trees themselves, some people have asked why they could not have been better protected. The answer is that, in a big open public park, there is not much that can be done to protect against concerted and mindless vandalism, and we are only glad more trees were not damaged. Wire netting around trees can only protect against animals when trees are much smaller than our strong and robust blossom trees. Wire netting can only be placed up to the height of the canopy otherwise it stops normal growth, and this would have been no deterrent to vandals.

We are determined that the vandals do not win. It’s a real comfort to know that the many, many messages of support and outrage we have received far outweigh the few mindless idiots who destroyed our trees. We still have eleven trees ready for planting inside the edges of the former bowling greens, so will now use seven of them to replace the damaged trees. This will mean the main blossom walkway will have identical trees of the same height growing together. CityParks arboreal team are trying to source seven more identical blossom trees, but at this stage of the planting season, it will be difficult to find the same species and age of trees. If that is the case, the arboreal team will buy the replacement trees in the autumn. Meanwhile, the volunteer gardeners will plant the remaining four trees shortly after Easter, and the replacements in the autumn. You will also be pleased to know that the remaining stumps of the vandalised trees will be replanted elsewhere in the Park, and while they will not have the same height and shape originally intended, they will produce side shoots and blossom over time as a beautiful reminder to us all of how we all need to ensure that young people and others need to learn the consequences of mindless vandalism in our beautiful Park.

If anyone wants to contribute to the cost of the replacement trees, as many people have asked to do, while we cannot reopen our JustGiving page you use the Donate button on the home page of this site.

If anyone has any further information about how why and when the trees were damaged, can you pass it on to us in confidence so that we can push Sussex police to take further action.