Our Projects in Marple Memorial Park
The Friends of Marple Memorial Park have had amazing success with their projects in the park, thanks largely to the great support from local people, other voluntary organisations and the Marple business community. You can read more about these successes here.
Silhouettes at entrance commemorate WWI Centenary
Inspired by the WWI centenaries and the fact that the park came into being as a War Memorial Park in 1922, after the end of the First World War, we designed and commissioned two stainless steel WWI silhouette artwork signs for the front and rear entrances to the park. Inspired by our design, the metalwork and laser cutting for these were provided free of charge by Advanced Engineering Techniques of Sheffield. This was arranged by Marple resident Alan Burton, who works for C Brown & Sons (Steel) Ltd.
The only costs associated with this project were for the black backgrounds and a variety of stainless fixtures and fittings. Installation was by completed by our volunteers.
Campaign for a new roundabout in Infants Play Area
In May 2015 the roundabout in the Infants Play Area had been broken and out of service for at least 6 weeks. It had never worked properly and soon after it was installed in 2008 the Friends of Memorial Park told the council it was not fit for purpose. Many promises to rectify the situation followed over the next 2.5 years but none were fulfilled and the roundabout was now unusable and the safe surface around it getting worse every day.
Friends of the Park sought assurances from the council’s Greenspace Team that the roundabout would be replaced with a new piece of equipment but these were not received. We were told only that "Greenspace and SSK are currently reviewing priorities and spend for this financial year, this is one of the items that will be considered".
We wrote to local councillors asking for their support and they agreed to consider how new equipment could be funded at the next Marple Area Committee on 10 June 2015. In order to show councillors how important this was to the people in the local community who use the park we set up an ePetition on the council’s own web site.
Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flowerbed and Sculpture
In 2011 a member of Friends of Marple Memorial Park suggested at one of our meetings that we should do something in the park to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
Separately, another member felt it would be a good idea to invite the local college's Horticultural Department and Students to get involved with hands-on work in the park and set the wheels in motion to see if this could be arranged.
These two independent ideas have since metamorphosed into a brand new community project to refurbish the rundown flowerbed in front of the library, turning it into something much more interesting as a permanent display to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Year of 2012.
Keeping the Park Toilets Open
Although far from ideal, Friends of the Park consider the Park's Public Toilets to be a key facility for all park users.
In 2010 it came to our attention that they were on a long list of council owned public toilets intended for closure that would be replaced by so called "Community Toilets". We immediately began an aggressive campaign to save them, joining forces with Marple Community Council, Marple Carnival Committee, Marple Veteran Bowling Club and Marple Civic Society.
Thanks to huge community support we were eventually successful in keeping them open. However, the park's toilets were the only ones anywhere in Marple Town Centre that were saved. All other public toilets operated by the council were closed and replaced by the "Community Toilet Scheme".
In more recent times we campaigned again, gaining the support of Marple's Councillors to keep them open during the Covid19 pandemic. At the present time the park's toilets are usually open (subject to staff availability or the need for repairs) and are currently the only convenience available to the public anywhere in Marple.
The Friends have maintained all benches in the park since 2011
It had been apparent for many years that benches in the park were deteriorating and some were in need of more than the normal routine maintenance that they sometimes received from the council. So in the spring of 2011 the Friends of Marple Memorial Park conducted a survey of benches in the park to identify the extent of the problem and to develop an action plan for dealing with the outcome.
The survey revealed that many of the benches had been donated by families and friends in memory of a loved one, which is something that we felt was important not to lose. We therefore developed a policy of repair and refurbishment only for any existing commemorative benches but with the possibility of adoption and replacement of non-commemorative benches. We decided to encourage adoption wherever possible in preference to new commemorative benches being installed in the park.