The borough’s accolade in the ‘Parks and Open Spaces’ category was revealed at a ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Acocks Green, Birmingham on September 27. Representatives from Tamworth Borough Council’s Assets and Environment team attended the ceremony to collect the award.
Wigginton Park competed for the third year in the parks and open spaces category of the Heart of England in Bloom campaign. The award is open to parks and open spaces of all kinds and is judged on three aspects – community & engagement, maintenance & development and environment.
Wigginton Park entered the awards as a large park of more than 20 hectares. Its entry has been led by the Friends of Wigginton Park, with the support of Tamworth Borough Council.
It was a lovely summer’s day as the judges, Emma Sibbing and David Tipping, arrived on Thursday, August 2, to take a tour of the Georgian parkland surrounded by Giant Sequoia, Cedar and other well-established specimen trees.
Chair of the Friends of Wigginton Park, Richard Kingstone, said: “We are delighted and honoured to receive the gold award for the second year. I know that residents, alongside Tamworth Borough Council, have been working hard to make our wonderful park even better.
“We know Wigginton Park is a very special place and this has been recognised by this result. Take a walk through the park on any day and you will be greeted by a variety of wildlife, sporting activities, dog walkers, children playing etc. It really is used by everyone in our community. And this was noticed by the judges.”
He added: “The Friends of Wigginton Park was formed by students from The Rawlett School along with local residents and members of Tamworth Rugby Club coming together to attempt to make our park even better.
“Over the years we have developed a management plan with the support of Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Tamworth Borough Council. We meet monthly and carry out a variety of activities, including maintenance of the wetlands area; planting bulbs and wild flowers and the community orchard.
“It will be exciting to see what we can achieve for next year.”
The award ceremony comes just one week after Heart of England in Bloom announced that Tamworth had won gold in the ‘Small City category’ in the regional campaign for the ninth year in a row, along with the Discretionary award for the impressive display at Moor Street island.
Cllr John Chesworth, Cabinet member for Culture and Operational Services, said: “It is fabulous to see the huge amount of hard work and dedication from the volunteers who make up the Friends of Wigginton Park being rewarded with gold again this year. It acknowledges the commitment to high standards of environmental works and community involvement.
“The park is an amazing place for walkers and families. I look forward to seeing the new projects planned in 2019 and the results of their continued hard work.”
Arriving this month to the park will be a new addition of a ‘Tree Trail’ of fantasy stories and characters that will capture the imagination of visitors to Wigginton Park, created following a series of workshops with local groups and schools.
The Talking Leaves Tree Trail project, developed and supported by Tamworth Borough Council, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, the Friends of Wigginton Park and MD Creative, has worked with local groups since July 2017 to create a collection of mythical stories about carefully-selected trees around the park.
The trail will be unveiled with a live launch including theatre and dance performers dressed in the character costumes. People who follow the trail will be able to put the collection of stories together to create a complete ‘book’ of tales.
To join the special free launch event on October 13 timed slots are available every 20 minutes, starting at 10am and running until 1pm, which must be pre-booked at Tamworth Tourist Information Centre, Marmion House, on 01827 709618 or via email: email@example.com.