Parks and cemeteries receive £40m lottery funding

A local park linked to football legends Bobby and Jack Charlton has received £2.3m cash boost from the National Lottery.

It was one of 13 parks and cemeteries across the UK to receive grants totalling £40 million to regenerate and revitalise the community spaces.

Hirst Park is in the brothers’ hometown, a former coal-mining district of Ashington, Northumberland. It was built in 1915 to provide green space for the growing mining population.

The Charltons, who helped England win the 1966 World Cup, trained in the park as youngsters. But the park fell into decline and the grant will help restore pitches and revive its soccer heritage.

Sir Bobby Charlton said Hirst Park was as necessary to the youth of today as it was for him; Jack said the pitches were created on the ash tip from the colliery.

The cash will also fund a new horticultural training centre, water splash zone and facility for charities. A Growing Zone will contribute to the long-term maintenance of the park.

The money was awarded jointly by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund England, through the Parks for People Programme.

To date, more than £800 million of money raised by National Lottery players has been invested in parks since 1996.

The 13 parks and cemeteries are:

  • Victoria Park and Watercress Fields, Ashford - £3.2million
  • Boston Manor Park, London - £3.9million
  • Poole Park, Poole - £2.9million
  • West Smethwick Park, Sandwell - £4.8million
  • Hirst Park, Ashington, Northumberland - £2.3million
  • Victoria Park, Stafford - £1.9million
  • Staunton Park, Hampshire - £2.9million
  • Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted - £981,200
  • Springfield Park, London - £3.3million
  • Marble Hill, London - £4.3million
  • Canons Park, London - £4.7million
  • Pearson Park, Hull -  £3.1million
  • Bishop’s Park, Abergwili £1.4million

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