9:01am Tuesday 22nd February 2011
TEN years ago, a group of Bolton residents sent a series of complaints to Bolton Council about issues they had spotted in Moss Bank Park.
Although the group did not know each other, their letters sparked an idea in the mind of the park’s horticultural manager Adrian Norcross.
And, in a move that pre-dated David Cameron’s idea of the Big Society by a decade, the residents were invited to the park for a chat with Mr Norcross.
From that meeting, the Friends of Moss Bank Park was born, and the group has gone from strength to strength.
“We started litter picking, then got a bit more adventurous, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” said founding member and secretary David Butcher.
“You could say we were the Big Society before David Cameron ever mentioned it.”
Mr Butcher said he is surprised by the group’s longevity.
“We just envisaged that we would make a complaint and might make a bit of a difference.
We never thought about how long it might go on for,” he said.
The group meets for two hours twice a month in the park’s walled garden to carry out tidying, planting, and generally help the park staff.
“It’s jolly good fun, and we’ve made some good friends.
“Although we don’t go out in the pouring rain, there are very few of our set days when no-one has been there.”
Over the years, the group has been enjoyed by unemployed people, members of church youth groups, and even staff from the nearby Asda store.
Cllr Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, Bolton Council executive member for cleaner, greener, safer, said: “We’d like to congratulate the Friends on their anniversary and thank them for all their hard work in, and around, the park over the past 10 years.
“We’re currently working with them on a series of exciting new ventures, including proposals to bring forward a café facility in the park, as well as how to take forward Animal World in the future.
“We look forward to continuing to work with them to improve Moss Bank Park over the next decade.”
They are now looking for more people to lend a hand.
Anyone who is interested in joining the group should contact M
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