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The Friends of Marple Memorial Park have had amazing success with their projects in the park, thanks largely to the great support from local people, other voluntary organisations and the Marple business community. You can read more about these successes here.
Skate Park Improvements
In 2011 Friends of the Park began a project to upgrade and extend the existing skatepark facilities in the park. We joined forces with Stockport Council and local skater Lewis Abbott, who campaigned to get the existing facility built back in 2000 and is still a skater today. We also gained the support of Marple Civic Society, Marple Vision Partnership and Marple Hall School.
We consulted extensively with users and the local community and held a design competition tender. In April 2015 we gained planning permission to build a new £100k facility designed by Canvas Spaces Ltd. We started fund-raising in November 2012 and with huge community support from local groups and individual had raised over £50k of funding by the end of 2016.
Thanks to another £50k of £ for £ Council match-funding we are now ready to start construction.
Warship Week Plaque
Towards the end of 2015 Friends of the Park were contacted by Marple Local History Society about an historic WW2 plaque that had been donated to their archives by a lady called Julie Clay. The plaque was made to commemorate the adoption of HMS Maple by the citizens of Marple after the community raised £75,000 during Warship Week in November 1941. Keen to put the plaque on public display, the society felt that Memorial Park was the perfect place and we certainly agreed with that too!
We'll probably never be sure how the plaque found its way back to Marple but we do know that Julie's uncle, Bernard Mifflin, aquired it somehow and it spent the last 30 years in his garden. It's likely that the plaque was removed from the ship when it was scrapped in 1956 but it could actually be a copy presented to Marple Urban District Council in 1941.
There is a page on MLHS's web site to explain in more detail the background and history of the plaque and HMS Maple. On this page we focus on the project to install it in the park and the fantastic community support that helped us to do it.
Kärcher cleans Marple Memorial Park!
Although Sarah didn't come to Marple we did receive some fantastic prizes including a day-long visit from the huge Kärcher Clean-Up Squad and volunteers from Keep Britain Tidy. Local volunteers came along and joined in too and at one point in the morning we had more than 40 people helping to clean-up our park, which is our biggest volunteer day to date!
Diamond Jubilee Project
Separately, another member felt it would be a good idea to invite the local college's Horticultural Department and Students to get involved with hands-on work in the park and set the wheels in motion to see if this could be arranged.
These two independent ideas have since metamorphosed into a brand new community project to refurbish the rundown flowerbed in front of the library, turning it into something much more interesting as a permanent display to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year of 2012.
Caring for Park Benches
It has been apparent for a while that many of the benches in the park are deteriorating and some are in need of more than the normal routine maintenance that they sometimes receive from the council. So in the spring of 2011 the Friends of Marple Memorial Park conducted a survey of benches in the park to identify the extent of the problem and to develop an action plan for dealing with the outcome.
The survey revealed that many of the benches have been donated by families and friends in memory of a loved one, which is something that we feel is important not to lose. We have therefore developed a policy of repair and refurbishment only for any existing commemorative benches but with the possibility of adoption and replacement of non-commemorative benches. We decided to encourage adoption wherever possible in preference to new commemorative benches being installed in the park.
Park Entrance Improvements
Friends of Marple Memorial Park decided that it was time to do whatever we could to tidy things up and make the park entrance a bit smarter and more welcoming to visitors.
We started with the overgrown cinema shrub bed in February 2010 and we're making good progress but there's still lots to do. Read here what we've done so far and what we hope to do next.
Saving the Flowerbeds
Thankfully the Friends were able to negotiate a "stay of execution" for the seven flowerbeds that were destined to be grassed over for at least a year. This agreement with the council has allowed us to adopt the beds and gave us time to seek the support of the local community to help us plant them with herbaceous shrubs, perennials and bulbs to prevent them being lost forever.