VOLUNTEERS have welcomed a three-day council-run centenary weekend party to celebrate the 100th birthday of Coventry’s War Memorial Park in July 2021.
The Friends of the War Memorial Park, a small community charity with 50 members, has been in discussions with Coventry City Council and the City of Culture Trust about the project for several months.
The volunteer group is aiming to create a year-long programme of post-lockdown community projects and events starting with the three-day party on the day the park turns 100-years-old, Friday July 9 until Sunday July 11.
In their announcement, the Friends’ group, said: “We’re delighted that the City Council is organising a three-day Centenary weekend event for the park’s birthday. This will be a celebration of its role in the life of Coventry over the last 100 years, with a look forward to the next 100.
“Each day has its own theme: the park’s Past, Present and Future. We’re excited by their enthusiasm for what will be a truly community event, involving musicians, schoolchildren, fairgrounds and displays. In the New Year we will be putting out a call to organisations using the park to get involved.
“This year’s Covid-related lockdowns have demonstrated the value of public parks for people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. Across Coventry use of public parks went up by 123% during the spring lockdown and the War Memorial Park has been a crucial green lung for the city throughout the pandemic.”
They say despite the practical difficulties created by the Covid crisis, preparations are gaining momentum with four further projects underway including:
- Memorial plaques – the restoration of lost or broken memorial plaques commemorating those who died in conflict and replanting trees which have since died. The park has 678 individual memorials, each with its own tree.
- The story behind each memorial – Friends’ treasurer Gill Mills is currently collecting the stories of the men and women to whom each plaque is dedicated. These will be on display in the park’s Chamber of Silence during the Centenary weekend with each individual story on the relevant tree.
- A new sensory garden – Working with Coventry Resource Centre for the Blind, the Samaritans and Grapevine, the charity has been developing plans for a small sensory garden in the Aviary area of the park with landscaping due to start this month. Funding was secured from the Government’s Pocket Park fund.
- The Park Bench Project – Last December hand-written Christmas cards were put on every commemorative bench in the park inviting friends and families to share their stories of the people to whom their bench is dedicated. The idea being to create a new social history tour where visitors can learn about the remarkable human stories behind each bench. The group is now working with 20 families to make this a reality and is appealing to other ‘bench-holders’ to get in touch as the project develops via email: email@example.com.
The Friends’ group is hoping to involve as many individuals, groups of friends, sports clubs, community groups and charitable organisations in the special birthday celebrations. If you’d like to take part in the centenary weekend you can email the Centenary Celebrations team at firstname.lastname@example.org