Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Park fun

Susan and her mum, Rufford Country Park, late-1980s.

It's my daughter Alicia's 40th birthday tomorrow (Thursday) and I was looking for a picture of her in the park but without success. So 'Happy Birthday' Alicia. I never imagined even after you were born that, one day, I would have a 40 year old daughter. If you feel weird, how do you think I feel? I think I can tell the world I love you to bits.

However, what I did find was the above picture of Susan and her mum sitting on a then newish sculpture in Rufford Country Park (on the A614 near Ollerton, North Nottinghamshire). From 1981–1985 I was a Labour Party county councillor and Chair of East Midlands Airport, which was a great job to have. I also served on the county council's Leisure Services Committee and the Chair at the time was a lovely man called George Dobson, who effectively left me to oversee the council's parks and arts activities whilst he got on with what interested him.

During the four years I was involved, an arts centre was created at Rufford Country Park and one of the ideas which came out of a brainstorming session was a 'Sculpture Park', so for three years I was involved in buying 'fun' sculpture for the park including the above bench with its concrete ram and man at either end. Whenever we go to the park we see people having their picture taken and it gives me a real buzz and I want to go across and say 'I bought that when I was a county councillor'.

It would be great if we could get a few pieces of 'interactive' fun sculpture in Lenton Recreation Ground and other Nottingham parks. It would be a great investment.

This morning the latest issue of the Nottingham Arrow came through the letterbox and has two full pages devoted to promoting city parks including a full-page picture of Lenton Recreation Ground and a mention in the text. It's all good stuff and there can never be too much publicity about parks and open spaces as far as I am concerned!

Government and George Brown defend their discrimination against Ghurkas who served in the British Army before 1997 on the grounds that they were not based in the United Kingdom. They also have lower pensions than other ex-soldiers (since 1997 Ghurkas have had the same rights and pensions as other soldiers).

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