Rugby Borough Council creates a living legacy to mark World War I Centenary
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Rugby Borough Council creates a living legacy to mark World War I Centenary

Centenary Park, a new park in Newbold, Warwickshire, is to be protected forever by Rugby Borough Council as a Centenary Field.

Fields in Trust’s Centenary Fields project safeguards war memorial playing fields, parks and green spaces in memory of those who lost their lives during World War I. Over the last two years this previously derelict allotment site has been transformed into a new public park to serve the community of Newbold on Avon. Working with Newbold-on-Avon Community Partnership to design the space the new park occupies some of the 37,000 square metres of land which was returned to Rugby Borough Council following the construction of a new Western Relief Road. The beautiful new site now includes woodland, a new play area, natural play trail, picnic sites, open space, wildlife areas and community growing spaces.

The name of the new park was selected by pupils Riverside Academy in Newbold to reflect the 100th anniversary of the First World War. Fields in Trust’s national programme is a unique way to commemorate the centenary of World War I. It gives land owners such as Rugby Borough Council the opportunity to dedicate space to remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives during the conflict, but also to ensure that future generations have valuable green space to enjoy as a living legacy. Centenary Fields protected through the programme can be war memorial parks or recreation grounds, memorial gardens, parks and recreation grounds that contain war memorials or other significant green spaces.

Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths commented: “This programme is a fitting way for us to mark the sacrifices made by so many in World War I whilst looking to the future through a living remembrance. We are delighted that Rugby Borough Council are embracing Centenary Fields, commemorating the centenary of World War I for the people of Newbold in a way they can appreciate forever. We look forward to many more landowners following their lead.”

The project was part funded by several partners Including The Landfill Communities Fund (LCF); Veolia Environmental Trust supported the park and wildlife zones; Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd (WREN) funded the play area; SITA Trust provided support for the outdoor gym. In addition, the Woodland Trust supported the project by donating more than 5,000 trees

Cllr Lisa Parker, Sustainable Environment lead on Rugby Borough Council said “This major project is a real tribute to the vision and dedication of our parks and grounds team, our ambitious plans have been realised. By working with the community partnership, and with the generous support of our funders, we have created a wonderful green space for Newbold residents and the wider community to enjoy for generations to come.”

Speaking at the launch of the Centenary Fields programme in 2014 Fields in Trust President HRH The Duke of Cambridge said: “The Centenary Fields project aims to save in perpetuity scores of memorial spaces around the country. Each moment of play or leisure that takes place on a Memorial Field is, in a way, an act of remembrance. I am delighted that Fields in Trust have identified these Centenary Fields as a vital part of our national heritage and well-being, which we cannot take for granted. I encourage Local Authorities to support this cause and to safeguard these living spaces of remembrance for generations to come.”

Pictured above: (left to right): Oswald Dodds MBE, chairman of the Veolia Environment Trust, Angela Lewis, Fields in Trust's head of programmes, Mayor Coun Richard Dodd, Cllr. Lisa Parker, and Harry Wiles, standard for the Royal Warwickshire Regimental Association (Rugby branch).