Jackie talks about volunteering and helping maintain areas of the park, and with Friends of Longford Park

Involved in developing walking routes around the park, and wants to see the development of a pump track.

Likes to support all the different users of the park - athletics, disc golf etc...

Been visiting the park for over 60years. Remembers the bandstand, and the old style childrens playground. Plays tennis and discgolf regularly. Enjoy the peace and views in the park. 

4 generations of her family used the park. Her parents courted there in the 1940s - to her youngest granddaughter! 

Hello, Jackie. Thanks for agreeing to talk to me. And, um, what you're doing in the park today, right? Just the regular Monday afternoon gardening group, Uh, that a few of us are involved in just trying to tidy up a few of the beds in the ornamental gardens. How long have you been doing that? Um oh, I think it's probably about a year now

So whenever it's reasonable weather and you know we're not away, we'll come and have a go at that. Very good. And do any of the volunteering in the park? Yeah

So I'm part of Friends of Longford Park, and I I think I've been a part of that for about four years since I retired. Um, so I've just got involved with various little projects, and, um, the tree trail was one of them That a few of us, uh, organise which, um, has been very popular. Um, we just get involved with, um, coordinating things with Amy and Trafford and trying to put forward, you know, suggestions of things that need doing in the park

It might be just down to muddy paths or a drainage problem somewhere. Or trees being fell that we don't know why, you know. So it's it's kind of keeping those lines of communication open

Um, you know, looking at applying for grants for things and discussing as our group our committee group, about what improvements we can make, Um, done done a lot. Really? As a group, friends of Longford Park have been very, very good. Yeah

So have you done any fundraising as well for other groups? Um, or funding for, you know, provided funding in your role. Have you suggested supporting other groups? Um, well, there's an initiative to have walking routes around the park. Um, which is a great idea, really, To encourage people who might not have walked very much or people who are a little bit lonely, and they might want to join in

And maybe people with mental health issues. I think it's a very important thing that the park should be involved in, so Yeah, so I've certainly encouraged funding. Um, for that, um, where I think that we're in the process of looking at getting a pump track in the park

That's something we'll have to, um, contribute towards. But I think the idea is that we like to assist lots of different users of the park. You know, be the athletics group or the disc golf or pets corner

You know, it's our It's our job, really. Our role to being involved as as much as we can. Yeah

Apart from you volunteering to visit the park for other reasons as well. How long have you been visiting? Um, well, I've been coming to the park for over 60 years. Um, from being very little, um, probably in in the early days

It was the days when they had the band stand. And, um, you might come to see a band performing. We used to come to the Children's playground, which was it's changed in format completely now, Um, probably just to play games, but But most often, uh, we come in to play tennis, which we do regularly disc golf and just to walk around the park and enjoy the Peacefulness and the lovely colours and the trees that more than anything, really just coming in to get to get a nice bit of fresh air and a lovely view

So how many generations of your family in the park? Well, four. Yeah. My mom and dad, um, courted here back in the late 19 forties when they first met, and I've got lovely photographs of them, um, walking along looking very smart because that was the idea

Then you dressed up for your Sunday walk, Um, down to, um, my little granddaughter. Now who? Who enjoys coming in the park? Um, yeah. So definitely

And I think we probably all enjoy the park an awful lot more than we used to. I think there's a lot more going on. Really, um, got table tennis

The disc Golf is a big draw and the pets corner for younger Children and the big open spaces for playing football and cricket, which, uh, which we've often enjoyed. And have you got a favourite area of the park or a place that you most use well, apart from the tennis courts? Um, I would say, um, I particularly like walking down the main drive, and I've taken a lot of photographs there, and I've painted pictures of of the from the photographs that I've taken because I'd love that avenue of trees, so that's probably my favourite bit. But really, any of the parts that have got, um, trees in, and more recently we started walking around Ryba fields as well, which is kind of attached to Longford Park

And, uh, it would be lovely if that could, um, stay in public use. It's a natural area. And, um, would you say that there are any problem areas or any areas that need attention? Um, I think one of the biggest problems has been the drainage

Um, which is kind of a problem all over the park, particularly around the reservoir in the ornamental gardens. But the surface drainage is poor. Um, I know that Trafford are looking into that and, you know, are on to it, and I I certainly hope that it doesn't take years to resolve and that something can be done because certainly in the pandemic it it was difficult to walk around, to be honest, to find a bit that wasn't waterlogged

Um, so yeah, the drainage, Um, and then just back to the tennis courts again. Um, very they really, really are in need of resurfacing. Um, we're very, very lucky to have six courts

Um, for public use, you don't You know, you don't have to pay to go on there. Um It would be great in the future if if if something could be done about just getting them resurfaced and relined. The Nets are in pretty good condition, but the, uh, the ground is very rotted

It's got a lot of dips in it, water and mud collecting them, and it makes it quite hard to to play at any other time of year apart from summer. And they're extremely popular. Um, they became popular during the pandemic but have stayed popular

And I think we've had a lot of enquiries through, um through friends at Longford Park, asking about whether they can be improved. Um, so that that's a key thing for me? Yeah. And is there anything else you'd like to talk about in the, um well, just to say that it's an absolutely beautiful park

Um, I kind of get a little bit annoyed when people knock it and refer back to the days of the great ornamental gardens. I think that belong to a certain time period, I think, and I think there's an awful lot going on here. Um, there's a lot for different ages, and, um, it's great

Really? Yeah. Oh, thank you, Jackie.

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