Gheluvelt Park Friends


About Gheluvelt Park Friends

Since the group was formed in 2003 we have contributed to big changes in the park, including the Riverside Park extension, building a wheelchair ramp and garden frontage for Duckworth Environmental Centre, refurbishment of the duck pond surround and generally improved standards of maintenance.

During 2005, in conjunction with Worcester City Council, the British Legion, and St Stephen’s church, the group organised a memorial service to commemorate the Battle of Gheluvelt. About 400 people attended what was widely acclaimed to be a very successful event.  December saw our first “Carol service and Santa’s Grotto”, in which the Reverend Currie of
St Stephens church led the carols, accompanied by a brass band. In spite of a bitterly cold evening, over 200 visitors participated.

2006 was a very busy events year, starting with "Park After Dark”, jointly run with Worcester Arts Workshop and Worcester City Council. This after dark event, attended by more than 2000 people, included music, dance and a variety of entertainment from local performers, finishing off with an excellent firework display sponsored by Worcester City Council. This was followed by a very ambitious “Performers in the Park”, in which local entertainers performed simultaneously for about 3 hours in both the old park and the new extension. The weather was fine and more than 3000 visitors attended. Two Sunday afternoon “Music in the Park” events (a steel drum band, and “Taxi”, - an increasingly popular local band) attracted several hundred visitors. Our second “Carol Service and Santa’s Grotto” attracted about 1500 people, including long queues of children and parents waiting for the highly popular Santa’s Grotto! Music was provided by Worcester Salvation Army band, with singing led by Margaret Peters and her friends.

In 2007 we worked with the council to start a gardening club, support efforts to obtain Green Flag Status for our park and contribute to development of the detailed HLF plan for refurbishment of the old park. In this very busy year we ran Spring Fair (April), Folk Day (September) and Carol Service/Santa’s Grotto (December). A £1850 grant from EON allowed a major pond renovation, including floating duck houses and installation of Biorolls.

2008 saw the first cross cultural musical afternoon, in which well the known bands Boka Halat and Flatworld performed continuously in bright sunshine for the whole afternoon. The by now traditional Xmas in the Park again attracted excellent attendance on a cold but dry night, with singing led by Margaret Peters and music provided by Worcester Brass.

The highlight of 2009 was a community festival in which 10 local performers provided non-stop music throughout the event, and hands on activities were provided for the children. Sadly, we were unable to run a 2009 Xmas in the Park since contractor work on the new childrens wet play area occupied our usual space. However, were back in 2010 with a Xmas event in mid December, including the traditional carol singing led by Canon Currie, the ever popular Santa's Grotto and rides for the children.

Open Day(2010, jointlly run by Worcester City Council and Friends, proved highly successful and attracted several thousand visitors.

The key 2011 project was installation of outdoor gym equipment in Riverside Park, plus table tennis tables adjacent to the tennis courts in the old park. This highly popular equipment, funded by Community Spaces, is used by visitors of all ages.

The "Fitness in the Park" theme continued in 2012, with free training sessions on the above equipment and a community family event with emphasis on fitness, again funded by Community Spaces.

2013 saws us combining our usual summer park event with the Flower Show, where our combined efforts proved a great attraction, with several thousand visitors. The now traditional "Christmas in the Park" proved more popular than ever, with a lot of first class press coverage and much appreciated funding from Awards for All.

During 2014 we maintained strong support for the flower show (now called the Worcester Show), at which we funded from our own resouorces a portable stage, sound system, technicians, and three bands, - ie the musical content of this excellent show. The established "Christmas in the Park" in mid December proved as popular as ever, attracting several hundred carol singers, led by Canon Stuart Currie, and a record 168 children who visited the ever popular Santa's Grotto. This year we were delighted to receive a grant from Awards for All to lay a hard surface round the bases of the outdoor gym equipment, which solved the problem of muddy surfaces in wet weather.

2015 saw us maintaining strong support for the Worcester Show, with our own tent, tombola, a new banner and membership drive. The weather was perfect and more than 10,000 people visited the show. This was followed by Christmas in the Park on December 13th, again blessed with good weather amd excellent turnout. 2015 was the year in which our Facebook site became established. We have more than 300 LIKES, increasing steadily, very much from people not previously involved with Friends. We are currently searching for funding to lay tarmac under and around the outdoor table tennis tables, which is expected to greatly reduce the problem of mud in wet weather , which in turn increases table occupancy.

Great News !! At a Council Cabinet meeting on July 8th 2015, attended by Liz Smith, Mac Auld and Allen Barnatt, the Sons of Rest rebuilding project, which includes six new toilets, a small kiosk and better meeting facilities was given unanimous approval, with a £200,000 budget. Thanks must go to the many people, who have worked for more than 5 years on what is likely to be the last major park project for some time. Next stages are site survey work and design of the new building, including public consultation, with the objective to complete in April 2017 when the splash-pad opens for the summer season.


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