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Thoughts from a Friend of Pasley Park

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12 years ago, walking around Pasley Park, observing the birds and the kids playing football on a mud patch between 2 sets of old railway sleepers, I was wondering why a much used small park was so scruffy and unloved and thinking how it could be so much better, when I stumbled on a notice for the Friends of Pasley Park. Intrigued, I wandered into the meeting and from that point on Pasley Park, its history and place in the local area, has played a significant role in my life and my interest and knowledge about green spaces in our city, and their value to communities, has grown beyond anything I envisaged.  

Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, entrance and lake
Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, entrance and lake*

The Friends of Pasley Park have worked with Parks on ideas and improvements, fund raised for the park, run fetes and parades and used the park as a hub for community activities, mainly involving arts and history projects in local primary schools.  It is no exaggeration to say the park now looks transformed and we didn’t realise how much we had achieved until about 5 years ago, when Parks told us we had been nominated for a green flag award.  Consternation abounded at the meeting, as we felt we still had so much to do and it was only as we all walked home discussing it, that we considered how much better the park looked.   Despite the improvements still to be undertaken, we were awarded a green flag, with a commendation on our community work, which pleased us immensely.

Green Flag Award Flagpole
Green Flag Award Flagpole

It was when the flag pole was installed, that I had an idea.  Giraffes were first seen in Britain at the Surrey Zoological Gardens, which is in part where Pasley Park is sited.   I love the idea that these elegant long necked creatures were displayed here and thought it would be appropriate to add to the menagerie representation we have around the park by painting the flag pole as a giraffe’s neck.  So we did.  I think it looks great.

The park looks great too, even with so much to do to it…. if Manor Place development ever gets going we might be able to have a decent children’s area… and is so well used now across the community.  It is a pleasure when someone you’ve never met stops you to tell you how much they like the park or a cyclist bellows at you ‘park looks great’ as they nip through.  Oh, and the kids still play football, but on improved grass albeit minus the old railway sleepers.


*Royal Surrey Zoological Gardens, entrance and lake image courtesy British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/survey-london/vol25/plate-58

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