Newsletter 1

Welcome to the very first newsletter from the Friends of Wickford Memorial Park

Welcome to the very first newsletter from the Friends of Wickford Memorial Park.

We are a newly constituted group of volunteers working with Basildon Council Parks and Countryside Manager and the Park Manager to safeguard and improve the park.

Our mission is to
• enhance and protect the Memorial Park
• ensure that all visitors have a pleasant experience
• promote community spirit in Wickford
• encourage health and wellbeing for the volunteers.
• Ensure the park is open and accessible to all.

We have a small committee that meets monthly and we have lots of ideas for projects for the park and we hope eventually to hold events for the public in the park. The committee are looking at ways to finance future ideas and we will be looking at applying for grants and support from local organisations. Please let us know if you can point us in the direction of grants and funding.

We are planning a website but at present we are using Facebook so if you have access to Facebook please take a look at our page. Requests to join as a volunteer, put forward ideas and ask questions can be made through the Facebook page. There is a tab called book of ideas where you can see the projects already suggested by our volunteers.

Basildon Council Grant

We are very pleased to be able to say that Basildon Borough Council have given us a Sports Activity grant of £1000 to get us started and we have spent approximately £580 on gardening equipment so far. We will also be buying hi vis jackets for our volunteers and the Council have provided us with a lock up to store the equipment.

Recent Events

We have already had 2 working parties to tidy up the Home Front Garden near Huttons Café and are currently planning a new planting scheme to revitalise the area.

path in the park

In February and early March we took delivery of over 200 native tree  ‘whips’ (small rooted cuttings) supplied free of charge by the Woodland Trust. We have had 2 working parties to plant the whips in the Silver Jubilee Wood which is located on high ground near the Runwell Road entrance to the park.  Quite a few of the existing trees had died so they were replaced and the area of the wood extended.

Future Planned Projects

  • The most ambitious project so far is the creation of a wild flower garden where the old vandalised Table house used to stand. The area is currently being prepared to receive the wildflower seed. The Council are providing the seed and our volunteers will sow it. Future plans for the area include rustic seating, a path and best of all a wooden sculpture of a soldier. We are currently looking at applying for a grant to fund the carving which would use wood from a fallen Willow tree in the park. To start with, the area will have a fence to protect the seed whilst it is germinating but once it is growing the fence will be taken down.
  • Another project is to plant spring bulbs in the park and we are currently waiting to take delivery of snowdrop bulbs for the first planting. We will be having a working party to plant the bulbs.
  • The committee is discussing with the Council the clarification of its policy in relation to memorial benches and trees. Wickford Memorial Park and all other Basildon parks will have the same policy with regard to scattering of ashes etc. We were also told that there is now a pets burial site at Wat Tyler Park, in Pitsea
  • The Committee is dedicated to involving local schools and children in park events and we are hoping to be able to include children and parents in our working parties
  • The Park Manager is very keen to refurbish and replace the lamps that used to be on the gates at the Runwell Road entrance and he is taking this project forward.
  • The signage in the park is out of date and grubby and we plan to have a sign cleaning working party soon. The park manager is carrying out a survey of the signage with a view to updating it when funds allow.
  • The River Crouch Preservation Society are having a river clean up on the 26th April and some of our members will be giving a hand with this.
  • You may have noticed a lot of wet muddy people about on Saturday mornings and we welcome Park Run to the park. Hopefully the sun will shine on the runners soon!

History of the Park

Geoff Whiter has been researching the history of the park and will be posting articles on Facebook and our web page when it is up and running.

The idea of a park was first discussed in 1946 as a living memorial to those from the area that had given their lives in conflict. The War Memorial Fund Committee began raising funds to buy extra land at the Runwell Road end where the Remembrance Avenue was planted with 49 trees in 1949. The memorial gates were added in 1951. Further land was donated for camping and playing fields and a safe area was also set aside for children with special needs. This was followed by the bowling green, brick built pavilion and crazy golf.

Thanks go to

Basildon Borough Council Park staff for their enthusiastic support and help setting up the Friends group and to Huttons Café for allowing to have our meeting in the café.