Two King George V playing fields have each celebrated a major upgrade to their facilities as a result of £90,000 in grant funding from Fields in Trust. Awards were made to sites in Copthorne, Surrey and Nailsworth in Gloucestershire to mark Fields in Trust’s 90 years of protecting and supporting playing fields since its foundation as the National Playing Fields Association by King George V in 1925. There are almost 500 sites across the UK which were established as a memorial to the late King; each of these sites has legal protection through Fields in Trust to ensure it is secured as public open space for future generations.
The two grants of £45,000 each from Fields in Trust's KGV90 Fund have significantly upgraded playing field facilities. One grant was allocated to Copthorne Sports and Community Association in Surrey, the other to King George V Playing field in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire. The improvements have been marked with community events at each site this month celebrating that both parks are now accessible to more visitors for play, sport and recreation.
King George V Playing Fields in Nailsworth used their £45,000 award to improve existing play and sports facilities in the park and added a new trim trail, table tennis table and extra seating. These developments mean that more people can make use of their local playing fields. They celebrated alongside Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed who returned to his childhood home after winning his third successive Gold Medal at the Rio Olympics.
Speaking after the event the Olympian said: "It was a real honour for me to be so warmly welcomed back to Nailsworth again after all these years of rowing. I’ve been looking forward to seeing my home town again and I hope everyone who came to King George V Playing Field enjoyed the afternoon as much as I did.
"I have very special memories of this glorious park. I vividly remember playing on the slide as a child and now the facilities are fantastic for the next generation to stretch their legs and get active. I'm delighted to see so many people using the park, as I did, and pleased that this outdoor space has been so well looked after. Thank you to Fields in Trust for protecting the site, I grew up here with the very best memories."
Pete Reed also urged the local community to vote for the site in the Field in Trust UK's Best Park award – launched last week.
Copthorne Sports and Community Association used their £45,000 in funding to add an exercise trail, football, cricket, and table tennis equipment to the already well-used sports and play facilities, extending the potential use of these local playing fields.
Speaking of the impact that site improvements will make to the community Helen Reeves, Chairlady, Copthorne SCA Working Committee said: "The Fields in Trust grant is helping our aim of 'sport & fitness for all ages in Copthorne' come true. To see the Trim Trail being used by all, by individuals and small groups throughout the day is inspiring. The new sports equipment is creating much interest and pride in the village and we hope that it will attract many more villagers to join in the activities available in the Copthorne Jubilee Pavilion and on the Sportsfield. At last, our KGV field is starting to reach its full potential."
The two Awards for Copthorne and Nailsworth were presented during the Fields in Trust Awards Ceremony at Lord's Cricket Ground in December 2015 by BBC broadcaster - and Strictly Come Dancing contestant - Ore Oduba.
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said "We know how important parks and playing fields for children and families. They are places to relax, play sports or hold community events. Ensuring they are around for future generations is a top priority so we are delighted that we have been able to protect these valuable assets for the long-term and to fund the improvements with a special Fields in Trust grant to commemorate our founder and celebrate our 90th year".
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Pictured from top to bottom are:
- Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed using new equipment at King George V Playing Field in Nailsworth
- New cricket nets at King George V Playing Field in Copthorne