PEOPLE who use a much-valued park in one of Northumberland’s biggest towns have helped it win a national popularity contest for green open spaces.
Gallagher Park in Bedlington has scooped the Most Loved Field award – which brings with it a trophy and a £500 cash prize. The accolade was handed out in a ceremony at the famous Lords cricket ground – and came after local residents who regularly use the park voted for it in an online poll.
Yesterday there was a double celebration at Gallagher Park, after it was also awarded a £25,000 grant from the Sita Trust’s QEII Fields Fund to pay for improvements to its facilities.
A successful bid for the funding was made by the Bedlingtonshire Development Trust, the county council and the Friends of Gallagher Park group.
The money will be used to develop mountain bike trails, and provide new furniture, including picnic tables, seats and litter bins, to enhance family visits.
The Most Loved Field competition was run by Fields in Trust, which believes that parks, sports grounds, play areas, bicycle trails and nature reserves should be at the heart of local communities.
The county council has worked with Fields in Trust to designate three new QEII fields - Gallagher Park and Blyth’s Briardale Road and Meggies Burn – to give them greater protection against potential future development.
Bedlingtonshire Development Trust consulted local people about what they wanted to see at the park, generating almost 4,000 replies, and also championed the online vote for the Most Loved Field award.