Work on a £1m-plus project to restore Grantham’s World War One memorial park to its former glory is close to completion, with a grand re-opening on 9 September.
The final touches are being made to South Kesteven District Council’s Wyndham Park after a major transformation thanks mainly to National Lottery funding of £910,600.
It has been almost five years since the first grant was approved, awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and Big Lottery Fund.
The result of all the hard work since then will be unveiled at a ‘Dawn of a New Era’ family day celebration, from 11am-5pm on September 9.
In keeping with the park’s Machine Gun Corps heritage, the Lincolnshire Voices of the Great War exhibition will be there, featuring personal stories of Lincolnshire people on the battlefield and home front during the Great War.
Other attractions on the day will include the chance to have a go at Brazilian dance fighting with Capoeira.
There will also be performances by Stamford Brass Band, Grantham Dramatic Society and Grantham School of Dancing; street entertainment; animals from White Post Farm, Farnsfield; Kids Pony Parties; stalls and stands; children’s activities; model tanks and model boats; a photo-booth; and a chance to find out more about sports organisations including Grantham Tennis Club and Grantham Town Football Club.
Improvements to the park have included:
- Construction of a visitor centre with public toilets and reception facilities
- Refurbishment of the Memorial Arch, shelter and model boat lake
- Refurbishment of the former ticket office and creation of dedicated meeting space for volunteers
- Interpretation boards that highlight items of historical and ecological importance
- Seating, signage, CCTV security cameras and lighting
- Soft landscaping of trees and plants
The restoration is a joint venture between the HLF, SKDC and the Wyndham Park Forum.
The Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy, Cllr Nick Robins, said: “This major project evokes the original design intent as Grantham’s World War One Memorial Park.
“The park will once more fulfil its role as a fitting memorial to those who sacrificed so much in the war. Everyone involved in this restoration project should be extremely proud of what has been achieved.”
Cllr Robins paid tribute to the volunteers who have helped with the project.
“Our volunteers are proud to be part of the team,” he said. “The whole project has been shaped and developed with their suggestions and input.”
Jonathan Platt, Head of HLF East Midlands, said: “We’re delighted to celebrate the official opening of Wyndham Park following an amazing transformation which has been made possible by money raised by National Lottery players.
“The project has refurbished the park and ensured that more people recognise its important memorial status in time for the First World War Centenary. My congratulations to everyone involved in this splendid project.”
Around 877,000 people used the park in 2017 and the aim is to attract more than a million next year.
As part of this year’s Gravity Fields Festival the park will host spectacular performances by circus skills experts Hogwallops, while other major events coming up include a Halloween Spooktacular and Christmas in the Park.
In November a special ‘Battle’s Over’ tribute event sees Wyndham Park join with communities and organisations across the world to mark 100 years since the end of World War One, with a Beacon Lighting Ceremony.
For more information on the Wyndham Park events programme go to www.wyndhamparkgrantham.co.uk