By BILAL SALOO

The Friends of Wilton Park held a ceremony on 21 March to mark the seventh year running they have achieved the prestigious Green Flag award.

It was attended by the Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Gwen Lowe, The Friends of Wilton Park and members of the public, who watched the literal green flag being raised by the Mayor and Chair of the Friends group, David Flint.

The coveted Green Flag is an internationally recognised mark of quality which is awarded to spaces that are welcoming, safe, have high environmental standards and are well maintained. It was initially set up 23 years ago to recognise spaces in the UK and the standard has now been adopted around the world.

The Batley Park was given this “gold standard” due to the important greenspace its 36 acres provides for the local community and visitors to the area.

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Kirklees, Cllr Gwen Lowe said:

“This year Wilton Park is one of seven sites flying the Green Flag. I would like to express my thanks to the many people who create, manage and maintain our wonderful spaces who have worked so hard to achieve this award.”

“The biggest thank you is to the wonderful growing army of volunteers. The Friends of Wilton Park play a very active role in the park organising and running activity days and charity fundraising events.”

“We all know that volunteers don’t necessarily have the time, but they most certainly have the heart.”

The Friends of Wilton Park was formed in March 2015, by a group of volunteers. They aim to ensure the Park’s survival by working towards improvements to facilities and providing amenities and activities for visitors to the park.

Retaining the Green Flag status once again is, for many who look after the park, a sign of the work that has been put in by volunteers in the past and present. It also shows the “successful working relationship” between the Friends Group, the Local Council and other organisations and community groups.

Speaking about the “jewel in Batley’s crown”, Chair of Friends of Wilton Park, David Flint said:

“The most important thing for me is that the park continues to provide a quality greenspace for the local community and visitors to the area.”

“Wilton Park exists for the benefit of those living in Batley and the more events and activities that we can provide as well as ensuring that the natural woodland that dates back to before record began can continue to be enjoyed by people for many generations to come.”