Carols in the Park, 2016, set a record for attendance of over 300. We wish to thank all who supported this with a special word for Rev Nick Read who provided the carol booklets and allowed us to use Holy Trinity Hall afterwards for refreshments. Generous Penge businesses donated the prizes for our raffle.
Bulb planting in November, 2016: thanks to all who came out to help plant about 3000 new spring bulbs in both parks.
Music in the Park, 2016, was attended by about 200 people on a glorious summer day in July. Beckenham Concert Band were at their best and the event was enjoyed by all.
The 2010 Bird Walk through Cator Park along the river embankment to Alexandra Recreation Ground in August was enjoyed by all . Our 2011 Bird Walk took place on Sunday May 15th, again led by Phillip Davies. We saw a kingfisher, heron, moorhens, ducks, parakeets and a wren.
Saturday April 10
About ten people turned up for this on a really glorious spring day - so the turn-out was a little disappointing compared with the twenty or so on previous walks. Perhaps people decided to stay at home in their gardens or maybe Saturday is not such a good day for a walk.
Yet we all enjoyed the walk enormously, noting the thousands of extra daffodils we had planted back in November in both parks. Wordsworth's lines inevitably came to mind:
Beside the lake, beneath the trees:
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Last year's Spring Walk attracted about the same number of people, although at a later time and on a Sunday. We ended up breaking the walk by having tea and cake in a member's garden, in glorious weather!
Cator Park on Saturday November 7 2009
About 2000 bulbs were planted. Our thanks to those who volunteered and turned up to plant them.
Alexandra Recreation Ground on Saturday November 14 2009
We started at 10.00 am and finished planting at 12.00pm. Thanks to those who turned up in such foul rainy weather and helped plant about 1000 bulbs!
The bulbs which were planted in both parks included large daffodils (Dutch Masters, Juanita, Pheasant's Eye), dwarf daffodils (February Gold), tulips (praestans 'Fusilier', Ladies of the Night, Rembrandt), and giant mixed crocus.
AUTUMN TREE WALK
Saturday October 17th 2009
'The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry.
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky.'
We started in Cator Park near the noticeboard at 10.00 a.m. and, led by Mark Byfield, Bromley's Arboricultural Officer, we walked and identified the trees as we went. Then it was on to Alexandra Recreation Ground where we identified the trees there. We enjoyed the changing colours of the season and learned the names of the many varieties in both parks. The walk will help us create an electronic map of the trees in both parks for this web-site. About thirty people participated in the walk. We enjoyed Mark's colourful stories of his days as a tree surgeon and his amazing demonstrations of how to tell a tree's age by measuring its girth. Many of the oaks and black poplars are almost two hundred years old. The walk was organised in conjunction with Penge Partners.
PENGE SUMMER WALK:
Our Post-Victorian Heritage
This took place on Sunday August 16 2009, walking through Cator Park, Alexandra Recreation Ground, Watermen's Almshouses Gardens, King William IV Gardens and Penge Recreation Ground. The walk was organised in liaison with Penge Partners and attracted over twenty participants. It was well-reviewed in the News Shopper and online in the Green Guardian and This is London, with attendant photographs.
MUSIC IN THE PARK
The excellent Crystal Palace Brass Band B performed in Alexandra Recreation Ground on Sunday September 6th 2009 at 3.00pm to an appreciative picnicking audience of about 100 people and performed again in Cator Park on Sunday September 13th at 3.00pm.
Again, many brought their folding chairs, blankets and well-stocked picnic hampers and a good time was had by all.
Over 3000 spring bulbs were planted by over 40 Friends and volunteers in Alexandra Recreation Ground on Saturday morning, November 15th 2008, in glorious autumn weather. Most people brought their own planting instruments. It took about two hours to plant them, from eleven to one.
The ground had been made moist by heavy rain the day before so this made things easier. The bulbs were: 1000 large daffodils (Dutch Masters, a more hardy strain of King Alfred), 1000 English bluebells, 1000 dwarf daffodils (tête a tête) and 120 red praestans tulips (the multi-headed naturalising type). 1000 snowdrops were planted the following Sunday by a much smaller group in really atrocious weather!
We had drawn up an electronic plan for the plant areas and there were eight planting groups on the Saturday, each supervised by a member of the committee. We were delighted that Nick Babb from Bromley Council ( who had generously supplied the bulbs) and Mike Cassidy of English Landscapes gave their time to help plant them. The Reverend Nick Read from Holy Trinity also joined us later to help plant and took some photographs. The youngest planters must have been aged three and four and were carefully supervised by relatives.
An A3 version of a brand-new planting map encompassing the 2008 and 2009 plantings were on the notice-boards in Cator Park and in Alexandra Recreation Ground. Copies were emailed to the Council. We are closely monitoring squirrel behaviour regarding the bulbs! As soon as we see some dug up by our furry friends, they are then replanted elsewhere. We look forward to another display of riotous colour in all areas of each park each spring! A Spring Flower Walk through both parks took place in 2010 to observe the results of our planting. There were many compliments on our efforts from local residents.
As indicated above, in November 2009, thousands more bulbs were planted in Alexandra Recreation Ground and in Cator Park, for the first time, by the Friends. In addition to the above species we added in giant mixed crocus in both parks.
In subsequent years, during November, bulb planting took place to add in and supplement what we had already planted. In the future there will not be as many bulbs planted in each succeeding year because the bulbs should multipy and naturalise. The white wooden markers are there to discourage the mowers from mowing down the emerging flowers!
In November/December 2010, we concentrated on planting English Bluebells and giant mixed crocus in both Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground. Juanita daffodils, yellow trumpets with deep orange centres, were planted as well. Squirrels were greedily watching our activities as always: free lunch, anyone?
The wonderful display of flowers in the Spring somehow makes up for the loss of those bulbs which were devoured by our busy furry friends.
Open Meeting: Tuesday October 28 2008 at 8.00pm
The meeting, held in the Holy Trinity Centre in Lennard Road, hosted by the Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground, was a huge success with a very positive feeling and attended by about fifty people.
We had, as guest speaker, Howard Clark, former Chairman of the Friends Forum, and as ‘honoured guests’ to form a panel for the end Q and A session: Patrick Phillips, Head of the Council’s Parks and Green Spaces, Nick Babb, Green Spaces Officer, Stephen Tickner, the Council’s Parks Partnerships Officer, Mike Cassidy, Friends Liaison Officer for English Landscapes and Alan Barlow, Contracts Manager for English Landcapes.
The Friends committee was fully represented and visible. We were joined by Wendy Roche (now co-opted as a committee member) and Kathy Bance from Penge Partners.
Chairman Chris O’Shaughnessy opened the proceedings by reading the mission statement and invited Howard Clark to give an inspirational talk about the importance of Friends Groups. <
Then there was the Chairman’s report outlining the way the Friends operate and function as a committee with some of the things achieved so far e.g. the Newsletter, capably edited by Claudia Rios, the well-received Pooh-Bag days in both parks, the People for Parks award for both parks, the flags and the certificates, and the remarkably well-attended Music in the Park in Alexandra Recreation Ground last September.
Next, Stephanie Barnsdale, the Treasurer, gave a report about the promising state of membership and finances, outlining things achieved in Cator Park so far e.g. the enjoyable and well-attended Tea in the Park last June.
Both Chris and Stephanie then, in turn, outlined some planned future events such as the Bulb Planting in Alexandra Recreation Ground on November 15th, the Carols in the Park in the same park on December 14th, and the New Year, New You fun run in Cator Park in January.
Stephanie explained the intriguing results of the Questionnaire and then it was the Question and Answer session with the honoured guests coming forward to make up the panel. There were some thoughtful and pointed question from the floor which were well and honestly answered by the panel. Pledges were given to act on many of the suggestions made e.g. the creation of flower meadows in both parks.
At the end of the evening the Chairman proposed a vote of thanks to all for attending and invited everyone to stay behind and chat over a cup of tea or coffee. The Friends were represented by the above and also by Colin and Jenny Napthine, email Secretary and police liaison officer respectively, Neil Coe, responsible for website advice and electronic planning, and Colleen Meredith, social advisor, who prepared the tea and coffee. Minutes of the meeting were taken by Jane Morley, the Secretary.
We thank Nick Read, the vicar of Holy Trinity and perennial supporter, who allowed us to use the Centre for this very successful meeting.
Music In The Park
A group recently formed to look after two parks has held a mini music festival.
The Friends of Cator Park and Alexandra Recreation Ground organised the event, which took place at the recreation ground in Lennard Road, Penge, to try and rejuvenate both parks.
On show were the Crystal Palace Brass Band's training section, who played a medley of Beatles songs, as well as the Tim Boniface Jazz Duo, who performed jazz hits from the 1920s to the present day. The acting chairman of the Friends, Chris O'Shaughnessy, said: "We held this because we wanted to rejuvenate the atmosphere in both parks.”
"There used to be music for years in both parks, up until the Second World War, so we thought we'd give it a try."
For more information or to join the group e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Article from the News Shopper online 15.9.2008.