His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, President of the Fields in Trust charity dedicated Kensington Memorial Park as a Centenary Field today – ensuring it will be protected forever as recreational space.
Run by national charity Fields in Trust, in partnership with The Royal British Legion, Centenary Fields protects playing fields, parks and green spaces as a living memorial to those who lost their lives during World War I.
Kensington Memorial Park was created in the 1920s and established as a memorial to the servicemen of the local neighbourhood who fought in WWI. Remembrance week is a timely moment to remember them and rededicate the park with Centenary Field status.
Speaking at the event, Fields in Trust President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, said: "In the two years remaining until the anniversary of the first Armistice Day, Fields in Trust will be working with more Local Authorities to secure more recreational spaces as Centenary Fields.
"They will succeed, but only if they have help, so I urge others to support this important cause and protect these living spaces of remembrance for generations to come."
At Kensington Memorial Park HRH The Duke of Cambridge met local children from Barlby school who showed him their work on Remembrance. He then planted Flanders Poppy seeds with children from St Charles School as a mark of remembrance before unveiling a plaque and dedicating the park as a Centenary Field - now legally protected as public recreation space, forever.
Fields in Trust Chairman of Trustees, Tim Phillips CBE, comments "It was a delight to have local young people in the park with us today. We honour the fallen of World War I by providing future generations of children a play to play freely, a pitch to enjoy sport, learn the benefits of team-work... of effort rewarded; and, a quiet place for reflection and stillness; in short, a place to nourish physical health and mental wellbeing. This Centenary Field and the scores like it across the UK will safeguard parks and gardens valued and enjoyed by their local community for generations to come."
The Mayor of The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Councillor Mrs. Elizabeth Rutherford said: "When Kensington Memorial Park was opened ninety years ago the then Mayor spoke of his hope that it would be used by successive generations for recreation and health. His words were well-chosen, as the Park today remains a popular and well-used amenity for local people at all times of the year. Today's ceremony serves to remind us why this space is styled as a "Memorial Park". It is a great honour to have The Duke of Cambridge with us as we reaffirm our commitment to maintain it as a fitting "living" Memorial and a local outdoor space for all to enjoy."
Centenary Fields is a UK-wide programme providing a unique way to commemorate the centenary of World War I. It gives land owners 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 parks, recreation grounds, or gardens which contain war memorials or have links to WWI.
The Royal British Legion's National President, Air Marshal David Walker CB CBE AFC MA RAF (Rtd), said: "The Royal British Legion is proud to support the work of Fields in Trust and partner on the excellent Centenary Fields initiative which launched in 2014. Together we are ensuring that green spaces created in memory of members of the British Armed Forces who died in the First World War form a living legacy for generations to come. These community spaces form a vital part of local heritage, play a key role in educating the next generation about the significance of Remembrance, and will now stand in perpetuity to uphold the memory of the fallen."
At a time when green space is increasingly under threat of development for housing and regeneration - the need to secure places for play, sport the enjoyment of nature and recreation has never been greater; current concerns about health, child obesity, access to nature and mental wellbeing all need a green infrastructure for future generations to enjoy.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Fields in Trust
- Centenary Fields is the programme from Fields in Trust in partnership with The Royal British Legion running from 2014-2018.
- To date, over 150 landowners have expressed interest in securing their site forever as a Centenary Field for public recreational use.
- Fields in Trust is a national charity founded in 1925 to improve the protection, provision and quality of outdoor recreational spaces for all communities in the UK.
- HM The Queen has been Patron of Fields in Trust for 60 years; HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was President for 64 years and succeeded by HRH The Duke of Cambridge in 2013. The Duke of Cambridge has also been the Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Fields Challenge.
For further information please contact: Richard McKeever, Fields in Trust,
e: firstname.lastname@example.org t: 020 7427 2117 m: 07940072832.
For information on the Royal British Legion please contact Rebecca Warren,
t: 020 3207 2239 m: 07824 301 072 e: email@example.com.
For information on the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea please contact Bernie Brady,
t: 07814 247910 e: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images from top to bottom show:
- HRH The Duke of Cambridge unveiling Centenary Fields plaque at Kensington Memorial Park flanked by Royal British Legion standard bearers.
- Children from St Charles Catholic Primary School help HRH The Duke of Cambridge plant poppy seeds in the memorial gardens at Kensington Memorial Park.
Further images are available on request from Richard McKeever, email@example.com