CENTENARY FIELDS: West Lothian park safeguarded forever

CENTENARY FIELDS: West Lothian park safeguarded forever

Dechmont Park in West Lothian has been safeguarded forever as part of the Centenary Fields programme, which is protecting recreational spaces in perpetuity to honour the memory of the millions of people who lost their lives in World War I.

West Lothian Council's Executive Councillor for the Environment Tom Conn unveiled a special plaque at Dechmont Park last week, marking its designation as a Centenary Field.

The ground which is now the park was part of a field on the Dechmont Estate during the World War I era and was close to the Bangour War Hospital which functioned from 1915-1921. It is thought to have been made into a sports ground between 1948 and 1958, possibly as a result of a gift by Colonel Hardie, owner of the Dechmont estate. A £71,000 upgrade of the park was completed in 2013.

The Centenary Fields programme was launched in 2014 by Fields in Trust President HRH The Duke of Cambridge as part of a national initiative and is being partnered in Scotland by Poppyscotland and Legion Scotland.

Every local authority in the UK was encouraged to nominate at least one recreational space to be dedicated as a Centenary Field to commemorate the anniversary of the World War I. Centenary Parks aim to create a tangible, local legacy which will be valued by local communities for generations to come.

Executive Councillor for the Environment, Tom Conn, commented: "I was delighted to have been invited to unveil the plaque which designates Dechmont Park as West Lothian’s Centenary Field. Dechmont Park is an ideal location to be recognised as a Centenary Field as it is situated so close to the site of Bangour Hospital which treated and supported injured soldiers during World War I.

"The designation of the park as a Centenary Field provides a green space legacy for future generations to commemorate the sacrifice made by so many."

Chair of Fields in Trust Scotland, Brian Samson, said: "We are delighted that West Lothian Council has shown how much they value this green space by protecting it forever with Fields in Trust. Dechmont Park is an excellent illustration of how the Centenary Fields programme can mark the sacrifices made by so many in World War I whilst looking to the future through a living remembrance. Community green spaces such as this play such a vital role in maintaining a high quality of life for those who use them."