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A local parks activist has won a national award in recognition of his achievements in leading and inspiring volunteers to enhance a local park.

At a ceremony at Lords cricket ground last week, Marc Ellun, Chair of the Friends of Tatem Park, was declared Community Champion 2017 by Fields in Trust.  The national charity presents this award to "those who really make a difference to their local green space, going the extra mile organising events, or encouraging others to get involved". 

Fields in Trust describe Marc, who also chairs the Friends of Weir Hall Park, as "passionate about the park, always organizing volunteering events and constantly raising funds to improve the local park. He has also worked very closely with Enfield Council to ensure success of all the local projects."

Marc Ellul Theresa Ann Ellul Friends of Tatem Park 1Marc and Theresa Ellul at the Fields in Trust awards

Recent achievements by the volunteers include new planting in the park (not exactly helped by thieves who stole plants while the Friends were at lunch), restoration of the sunken garden and creation of a new children's playground.

Marc says the prize will spur the volunteers on:  “I really enjoyed spending time with fellow people committed to their parks and green spaces. Winning this award has given us added motivation to push forward and make further improvements to the park”.

tatem park volunteers 3 1Marc (centre, with spade) with members of the Friends of Tatem Park

Fields in Trust protects the UK’s vital open spaces, from sports pitches to children’s playgrounds, bicycle trails and country parks, safeguarding them for future generations. But chief executive Helen Griffiths says that their importance is not always recognised. "Despite their undeniable contribution to the happiness and health of our community, 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."

heron in tatem park 1A Fields in Trust inspector surveys the park

The charity this year awarded the prize for "UK's Best Park" to Stanley Park in Blackpool. "Designed by celebrated landscape architect Thomas Mawson in the 1920s, the park boasts an Italian marble fountain, boating lake, bandstand, Medici lions, Italian gardens and Art Deco styled café."  Well, Tatem and Weir Hall parks may be rather more modest places, but every open space is unique in some way and they are all important for community wellbeing.  (And I bet they haven't got a world class roller skating circuit or discovered any dinosaur bones in Stanley Park!)

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