Blackpool’s Stanley Park has been voted by the public as the UK’s Best Park at the prestigious annual Fields in Trust Awards 2017.
Designed by celebrated landscape architect Thomas Mawson in the 1920s, the park which boasts an Italian marble fountain, boating lake, bandstand, Medici lions, Italian gardens and Art Deco styled café, has scooped the headline award at the annual Fields in Trust Awards 2017.
Each year the Fields in Trust Awards showcases some of the UK’s best open spaces, and shines a light on the efforts and achievements of the people whose tireless dedication ensures that these vital outdoor spaces can be enjoyed by the public. Now in their sixth year, the Awards are organised by The Fields in Trust Charity, which counts His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge as its President and protects the UK’s vital open spaces, from sports pitches to children’s playgrounds, bicycle trails and country parks, safeguarding them for future generations.
For the third year running the UK’s Best Park Award, voted for by the public, celebrates the nation’s favourite park. This year the public nominated 360 parks in total from across the UK, with over 15,000 votes cast. The finalists shortlisted included Craigavon City Park in County Armagh, Roath Park in Cardiff and Rouken Glen Park in East Renfrewshire. The award was presented by former Wales and Lions rugby player Brynmor Williams, Chairman of The Fields in Trust Wales Committee. The celebratory dinner took place at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, hosted by TV sports broadcaster Jacqui Oatley.
Commenting on the UK’s Best Park Award 2017, Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust said: “On behalf of everyone here at Fields in Trust, I would like to congratulate Stanley Park. The UK’s Best Park Award is open to any green space regardless of whether or not it is protected in perpetuity with Fields in Trust. The people of Blackpool have sent a clear message that they love their local park and I hope that Blackpool Council will recognise this by working with us to safeguard Stanley Park as a place for community sport, play and recreation forever.”
Parks and Green Spaces Minister Marcus Jones said: “Many congratulations to Stanley Park on being voted the UK’s Best Park 2017 in the Fields in Trust Awards. The public support shown for this park and all the finalists highlights just how much the residents of Blackpool and local communities more widely care about their treasured green spaces. Through the new Parks Action Group we have a great opportunity to ensure our parks remain places to be proud of for generations to come.”
Other successes of the night included Kimberley Mpukusa who scooped the Young Champion Award. An avid tennis player, Kimberley has been actively involved in the BME Sport Cymru project, engaging and inspiring women and young people from BME communities. Her achievements in tennis alongside the challenges she has overcome in her life, have been an inspiration to those around her.
Friends Group of the Year, an award which recognises the contribution of passionate communities to their local parks, was awarded to Friends of Angel Meadow, Manchester. The group was formed in 2004 to campaign for the park’s regeneration, and since then has transformed an abandoned, unloved site into a green retreat amid the bustle of the city.
A full list of the awards honoured over the course of the evening is below:
- Most Improved Fields: Furness Vale
- Best ‘Have a Field Day’: Stanley Park
- Best Play Initiative: Wingham Parish Council
- Getting Active (Team Sports): Market Drayton Community Amateur Sports Club
- Getting Active (Individual sports and informal activity): Telford Town Park Arena
- Friends Group of the Year: Friends of Angel Meadow
- Local Authority Partner of the Year: Belfast City Council
- Town and Parish County Council: Alcester Town Council
- Community Champion: Kazia Knight & Marc Ellul
- Young Champion: Kimberley Mpukusa
- UK’s Best Park: Stanley Park
Founded in 1925, Fields in Trust are a national charity, who aim to ensure that everyone in the UK, regardless of age and ability, has access to free, local outdoor space for sport, play and recreation. Centred on the belief that green spaces are vital in building happy and healthy communities, the charity works to counter the threat of development to communal outdoor recreational areas.
Since it was founded by King George V, Fields in Trust has been privileged to have the support of the Royal Family. Her Majesty the Queen is Patron and The Duke of Edinburgh was President of Fields in Trust for 64 years; today the charity is honoured to have the His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge as its President.
Commenting on this year’s Awards, Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust added: “On behalf of the team at Fields in Trust I would like to congratulate all of tonight’s winners. These awards give us the opportunity to shine a light on some of the UK’s most beautiful green spaces up and down the country. Despite their undeniable contribution to the happiness and health of our communities parks and outdoor spaces are often undervalued. This annual event not only gives the public the opportunity to champion their favourite park, but allows us to showcase some of the people and organisations that work tirelessly to ensure the upkeep and community enjoyment of these wonderful spaces.’