The Queen Elizabeth II Field Ashton Hayes in Cheshire won the prestigious Most Improved Queen Elizabeth II Field Award at the inaugural Fields in Trust Awards Ceremony hosted by John Inverdale at Lords Cricket Ground on 29th November 2012.
The Fields in Trust Awards celebrated the fantastic achievements of the charity’s programme The Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge headed by its Patron, HRH The Duke of Cambridge.
Ashton Hayes fought off fierce competition from fellow shortlisted sites Queen Elizabeth Park View Playing Fields in Fylde and Lordship Recreation Ground in Haringey, London and was selected by a judging panel including representatives from Asda, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, SITA Trust, Sport England and the Guardian.
Fields in Trust’s Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge is an initiative to mark the great events of 2012: HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It aims to protect as many outdoor recreational spaces as possible in perpetuity as a permanent, grassroots legacy in communities across the UK and has been generously supported by Asda and the Asda Foundation.
The Most Improved Queen Elizabeth II Field Award, supported by SITA Trust, was given to reward a QEII Field bringing real change to the quality of an outdoor space. Ashton Hayes received a £25,000 grant from SITA Trust as part of their £1 million Queen Elizabeth II Fields Fund and thanks to this and a range of other funding have transformed what was previously a farmer’s field into a first class recreational facility with a play area, football pitch, outdoor gym, carbon neutral pavilion, nature and picnic areas.
Alison Moore-Gwyn, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: ‘We are thrilled to see the Queen Elizabeth II Field at Ashton Hayes win this award of the Most Improved QEII Field, against some very strong competition. The site was transformed from a fallow farmer’s field in 2010 to a vibrant community facility in 2012, offering opportunities for people of all ages to relax and enjoy the recreation of their choice outdoors near to where they live. This represents a huge achievement on the part of the Ashton Hayes Sports and Recreation Association and they are worthy winners of this award.’
Andrew Saunders of SITA Trust added: ‘SITA Trust has been providing grants to improve community recreation facilities since 1997 through the Landfill Communities Fund. In that time the fund has invested over £1.26 billion in environmental improvement projects. We were delighted therefore to be a major funder in the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge. To see so many fields protected and improved for future generations is truly fantastic – well done to all the communities involved!”
Awards were also given in other categories including Landowner of the Year, Best Have a Field, Most Loved QEII Field, QEII Community Champion and Getting Active on a QEII Field.
Photos of the evening
Andy Saunders from Sita Trust presenting the award to Michael Powers from Ashton Hayes Recreation Ground