We were incredibly sad to hear that Chrisie Byrne has passed away. Chrisie was a force of nature - a tireless and tenacious campaigner for her community and a huge supporter of our work at Fields in Trust. As chair of the Friends of Walton Hall Park, and of Liverpool Friends of Parks forum, Chrisie did so much to protect the parks and green spaces of Liverpool.
Several years ago, a proposal for a major building development on Walton Hall Park was successfully opposed by the Friends' group. Other projects on Calderstones Park, Sefton Park Meadows and other spaces were also overturned by Friends' groups and local campaigns. It was Chrisie's foresight to find a solution which would ensure that all the green spaces in Liverpool would be protected for community use, rather than campaigning for each individual space. Working with the Friends of Liverpool Parks and with councillors, Chrisie proposed that Fields in Trust protection could protect parks and green spaces for all Liverpool residents - for play, for sport and for the enjoyment of nature - forever.
Liverpool Councillor at the time and now MP for Liverpool West Deby, Ian Byrne wrote on Twitter: "A wonderful fighter for the parks-community and her beloved Walton Hall Park. An absolute honour to work with her on protecting our city's parks with Fields in Trust".
In May this year we had the honour of inviting Chrisie to The Houses of Parliament in Westminster as a representative of Liverpool Friends of Parks. There, along with Ian Byrne MP, Dan Carden MP other elected members, Peers and Government representatives, Chrisie's passion for her community and their right to accessible green space was as compelling and inspirational as always.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: "It is, in no small part, due to Chrisie's resolute campaigning that we are today working with Liverpool City Council. Chrisie told her story in a short video we produced last autumn about Park Memories. Now, thanks to her work to ensure green space is protected and available for the whole community, future generations will be able to make their own memories in Liverpool parks".
Chrisie was already playing a vital role in helping us raise the funds needed to make her vision a reality - and we are committed to continuing to do this until each of the 100 parks and green spaces are legally protected and will never be under threat again. Their proven benefits for health and wellbeing and their value in climate change mitigation plus the resolute community campaign that Chrisie spearheaded, convinced Liverpool City Council that future-proofing these vital assets was a valuable thing to do. Once completed, no resident of Liverpool will be more than a ten-minute walk from a protected green space, and we owe our heartfelt thanks to Chrisie to helping to make this happen.
We send our deepest condolences to Chrisie's family and many friends, and hope that her immense legacy may, in time, provide them some comfort.