ALEXANDRA PARK was unveiled as the first Centenary Field in Wales the broadcaster Roy Noble and the leader of the Vale Council yesterday, July 17.
The unveiling tags on to the official launch of the UK wide project by HRH The Duke of Cambridge in Coventry on Wednesday, July 16.
Centenary Fields is open to all local authorities in Wales and aims to protect war memorial fields, parks and green spaces created in memory of those who lost their lives during World War I.
Led by the UK charity Fields in Trust in partnership with The Royal British Legion, the programme ensures that there will be a space to remember the sacrifices of those who gave their lives during the conflict, but crucially that valuable green space is protected for future generations to enjoy as a living legacy.
Centenary Fields protected through the programme can be war memorial parks or recreation grounds, memorial gardens, parks and recreation grounds that contain war memorials or other valued green spaces.
Alexandra Park is a well-preserved Edwardian public park in an attractive location overlooking the Bristol Channel, retaining many of its original features. The park was laid out in 1901-1902 and was extremely popular from the beginning.
In 1924, the Cenotaph, by Cardiff-born sculptor and medallist Sir William Goscombe John, was erected in memory of those who lost their lives in the First World War. Also in this decade, the Garden of Remembrance and topiary work were added. This year the Park has applied for the prestigious Green Flag Award, the benchmark national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom, managed and delivered in Wales by Keep Wales Tidy.
Ivor Morgan, Chairman Fields in Trust Cymru, said: “Centenary Fields is a fitting and unique way of marking the sacrifices made by servicemen and women 100 years ago in World War I. We are delighted that the Vale of Glamorgan Council is the first local authority in Wales to protect space as a Centenary Field and we call upon all other authorities in Wales to follow the Vale’s lead and protect more spaces over the next four years to create this living legacy."
Phil Jones, The Royal British Legion’s Area Manager in Wales, said “As the nation’s Custodian of Remembrance, the Legion has a special role to play in the UK’s Centenary commemorations. Our partnership with Fields in Trust ensures that we are helping to preserve these important memorials, often found in community spaces that form a vital part of local heritage and play a key role in educating the next generation about the significance of Remembrance.”
Cllr Neil Moore said: “The Council and Cabinet fully support this initiative that recognises the ultimate sacrifice made by service personnel. It will also add to the protection of this valuable Park in Penarth signifying the Centenary of World War 1. I was delighted to assist The Fields in Trust in creating this legacy for future generations.”
Joanna Friedli, Keep Wales Tidy’s Green Flag Award co-ordinator, added: “The Vale of Glamorgan is demonstrating a real commitment to providing quality, green space to its local community. They have made several new applications this year to the Green Flag Award and are ensuring that Alexandra Park will be protected for many years to come through Fields in Trust and its Centenary Fields programme. I hope that Keep Wales Tidy and Fields in Trust can work together to ensure many more Green Flag Award sites in Wales are protected, accessible and of an excellent standard for our future generations. I look forward to announcing the results of the Green Flag Award in Wales at the end of this month and I wish every success to applications from the Vale of Glamorgan.”