Children’s Play Area Partially Re-Opened

We are very pleased to announce that Thanet Council has re-opened the Children’s Play Area – at least in part.  The piece of apparatus most affected by the fire (in last year’s arson attacks) remains cordoned off, but the undamaged parts of the Play Area are now available for children to play in.

The Friends would like to thank the Council for taking this step at long last.  We would also like to thank those who have repeatedly been in contact with the Council to keep the plight of the Play Area at the forefront of the officers’ minds.  The hideous acts of arson and then the subsequent closure of the Children’s Area have been the cause of a lot of upset for local children and their parents, but we hope this latest development indicates that it won’t be too long now until the rest of the Area is restored.

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Statement on the latest piece of Criminal Damage in the Park: the Eagle

As many of you will know or have seen by now, the beautiful wood-carving of an eagle, so meticulously sculpted by Steve from Tribal Animal just last week, was hacked into two pieces in the early hours of Saturday morning.  Shocked dog-walkers alerted us that the eagle’s head had been smashed off, when they saw the damage on Saturday morning.

Steve, sculpting the wood-carving last week
Steve, sculpting the wood-carving last week

 

Over the last nine months, Steve’s carvings have really enhanced the landscape in Ellington Park, and we are, without doubt, very upset that someone, either deliberately or recklessly (perhaps because they couldn’t hold their drink on a Friday night), would do this.  It is hard to imagine that anyone would willfully destroy such a beautiful work of art, but we have to realise that that may be a possibility nonetheless.

Decapitated: the Eagle on Saturday morning (Photo: Anji Davies)
Decapitated: the Eagle on Saturday morning (Photo: Anji Davies)

 

Nil Desperandum!

But, we would like the community to remain upbeat about the Park’s prospects of regeneration!  For every one person who commits these acts of mindless vandalism, there are, most certainly, at least a  hundred kind souls who support the ongoing attempts to bring Ellington Park – and Ramsgate generally – out of the doldrums. This has been epitomised by the number of messages we have received via social media and elsewhere since Saturday’s incident, offering help in a variety of ways.

Park Security

Understandably, many members of the community have enquired as to what can be done to shore-up security in the Park to try to mitigate against these repeated incidents of criminal damage. We have conducted thorough investigations into the feasibility, costings and benefits of the suggestions so far, including CCTV, lighting, closing the Park at night and so on. We also met recently with our Member of Parliament (Laura Sandys), Thanet Council, Kent Police and Kent Fire and Rescue Service, to consider the possible options.

We have applied to the Police Commissioner’s Fund for approximately £2,000 to install special motion-sensor solar-powered lighting. We will know by June the outcome of our application. We are always on the look-out for potential funding streams for CCTV, although this is somewhat more expensive than lighting and will therefore take longer to fundraise for; there are also questions over who would maintain and monitor the cameras and footage. Finally, in our Heritage Lottery Fund Bid, submitted earlier this month, we put in for high, Victorian-style railings and matching gates around the Park. As well as being considerably more aesthetically pleasing than some of the existing periphery and entrances, it would make it more difficult to get into the park at night – when the damage takes place – and opens up the possibility (depending on consultations with local residents and Park users) of closing the Park at night if necessary.

Coming very Soon!

These are exciting times to be part of the Friends of Ellington Park community. We invite you to come along to our Grand Opening of the Wildlife Garden on Saturday 11th April.  We would be absolutely delighted to give you a guided tour of the area – it was voted for by you, the people of Ramsgate, and we’d love you to see the fruits of your votes first-hand.

Grand Opening Poster

Grand Opening of the Wildlife Garden nearly here!

We are delighted to announce that the Grand Opening of the Wildlife Garden is nearly upon us!  It’ll be opened by Iris Johnston of Thanet District Council at 2pm on Saturday 11th April.

There will be Guided Tours available throughout the afternoon and a chance to meet the people behind the Garden, including Chris Booler – Senior Ecologist – who designed the entire garden; Simon Dundas – The Whistling Gardener – who made the pond and bog area; Dawn and Becky – of Lady Hands Gardening and DIY – who have spent many hours working hard to keep the garden in good order; Nirav Patel – a local A-Level student who designed and built the Teacher’s Throne; as well as Friends’ Chairperson Beverley Perkins, and other members of the Committee.

In addition to the opening of the Wildlife Garden, there will also be:

– The Grand Opening of our new Bookshop (affectionately known as the “Ellington Emporium”), located next to the Wildlife Garden and selling a variety of reasonably-priced second-hand books
– The unveiling of a new table-tennis table, funded by the Community First scheme
– Children’s Storytelling in the Wildlife Garden by renowned local author, Geraldine Ann Ford, from 3pm
– A FREE Book and an Ellington Park Badge for Children
– Steam Train Rides courtesy of the Ramsgate & Model District Engineering Club (RADMEC)
– Hot Drinks available

Please do come along!  The Wildlife Garden was only made possible when the people of Ramsgate (and further beyond) voted in their thousands upon thousands for the project in ITV’s People’s Millions vote – we are very pleased that, a year down the line, all the hard work (and votes) has come to fruition!

Grand Opening Poster

Friends’ Annual General Meeting takes place

Photo: Aram Rawf
Photo: Aram Rawf

 

Our Annual General Meeting was held on Friday 6 March in St Lawrence Parish Hall.

As ever, it was very well attended.  In fact, 65 people turned out for the Meeting this year – an AGM record for the Friends of Ellington Park! – and a good time was had by all.

Photos of the Park by Michael Milham were on show throughout the evening; those in attendance were also treated to Mike Bell’s fantastic video of Ellington Park, taken with the use of a “helicam” drone; and lots of people stayed for an excellent talk by Shirley Thompson of the Kent Bat Group, entitled, Exploring the World of Bats.

In addition to these festivities, the business of the Meeting itself took place – including the election of the Management Committee for the year ahead.  We are pleased to announce that the following people were elected to serve on the Committee for 2015-2016:

Ms Beverley Perkins (Chair)
Ms Patricia Scutt (Treasurer)
Dr Sue Martin (Secretary)
Mr Joseph Dance
Mr Alan Linfoot
Ms Dianne Reilly

To access a copy of the Friends’ Annual Report, please click this link: Annual Report 2015.

We look forward to another exciting and important year!  Next up for the Friends is the Grand Opening of the Wildlife Garden and Emporium on Saturday 11 April (2pm).  Make sure you pencil the date into your diaries!