Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year

Friends of Priory Park & The Green

Dear Friends,

As a brand new year begins, I would like to take this opportunity to say a sincere and personal thank you to the friends, volunteers and council employees who are dedicated to the preservation of Priory Park.

Your continued commitment to help keep this beautiful green space very special is truly appreciated. This achievement is an absolute credit to the energy and enthusiasm we all contribute as one big team.

As I walk round the park today it looks totally cherished and very wintry indeed with some touches of a deep frost.

We have much to do in 2015 and through our continued liaison with the local parks department management team; we aim to resolve some of the outstanding problems.

Here’s to an enjoyable and energetic 2015.

Wishing you all a Very Happy New Year.

Warmest wishes

Mariann Harris
Chair – Friends of Priory Park

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas carols and songs

The event today (12th December) was a great success, though it was cold.

Thanks to the performers - The People's Orchestra, Lauren Wheeler and Priory Primary School Choir, for making this evening's event so enjoyable. Thanks also to the organisers of the event, and all those who helped run the event so smoothly. However, I must also personally thank all those who supported me when I was suffering badly from the cold and breathing problems, including Phil, Chris, Fred, Barbara, Suzie, but also several others.

You can see more photographs by clicking HERE.

An edited video of the event can be accessed HERE - it is quite a large file, and will take a while to load, even though it is at greatly reduced quality and resolution compared with the original recording.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Christmas Carols & Songs in the Park 2014

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Our current Senior Park Ranger

Yesterday I posted a picture of our regular Senior Ranger, Lydia Allt, who is currently on maternity leave. So I'm now posting (rather belatedly!) a picture of Suzie Wolff, who is filling the post while Lydia is away.

Lydia and Ivy

Our regular Senior Park Ranger, Lydia, is on maternity leave at present, and it will be a while before she returns to duty. This is the first time I have seen her since she gave birth, so I thought I would share a picture of her and her daughter.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Recognition from 10 Downing Street

Once again, The Friends of Priory Park were recognised and thanked at this year’s Dudley CVS Volunteer Awards. Their Wednesday Walkers Group was recognised for outstanding commitment to voluntary services. Members of the group and their committee were present at the event and enjoyed a wonderful evening surrounded by other individuals and groups who volunteer their time for good causes. Their Chair commented: “It’s been a brilliant evening getting to know more about what’s going on in other parts of Dudley. I would like to add my personal thanks to all the volunteers who are involved in making a real difference in their communities”

Pictured L – R Jan Nicholls Committee Member and Lead Walker Barbara Thomas Lead Walker Chris Rich Secretary and Lead Walker Mariann Harris Chair

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New Mission Statement

The Friends of Priory Park Committee recently scheduled time to organise and attend an Away Day to plan and agree their future strategy. Here is their new mission statement:

The Friends of Priory Park will work in partnership with local people, businesses and government to become the Emerald in the Crown of Dudley - Improving the lives of its community and preserving its local heritage through the provision of world class park facilities.

Pictured L - R: Front Cllr Alan Finch, Becky Picken, Mariann Harris, Cynthia Simpson. Back: Gary Turton, Jess Welch, Chris Rich, Jan Nicholls, Niamh Bryan

Mariann Harris

Thursday, November 06, 2014

RHS Level 2 course starts in the pavilion

Wednesday 5th November saw the start of a new course in the pavilion, one which lasts 30 weeks and can lead to an RHS qualification - if we take and pass the exams! The photograph shows the group during a short walk to look at the rose garden - all looking very serious, probably because it was a rather cold afternoon, even though it was sunny!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Point of Light Award for FoPP Secretary Chris Rich

Many congratulations to our FoPP Honorary Secretary, Chris Rich, for winning a Point of Light award in October! The local paper, Dudley News, 22 October 2014, had a big article about this on page 18. This recognition of her work, as a founder-member of FoPP, and many other local activities, is well-deserved. We all owe Chris so much in terms of what she has done for the community.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Support Parks and Green spaces

You might want to visit this web site, and sign the petition - your decision, I'm only making you aware of it!

Support Parks and Green Spaces

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Forthcoming event

Yes, I know it isn't in Priory Park, but at our good friends at the Wrens Nest Community Centre ...

Friday, October 17, 2014

More recognition

Once again, The Friends of Priory Park were recognised and thanked at this year’s Dudley CVS Volunteer Awards. Their Wednesday Walkers Group was recognised for outstanding commitment to voluntary services. Members of the group and their committee were present at the event and enjoyed a wonderful evening surrounded by other individuals and groups who volunteer their time for good causes. Their Chair commented:

“It’s been a brilliant evening getting to know more about what’s going on in other parts of Dudley. I would like to add my personal thanks to all the volunteers who are involved in making a real difference in their communities”

Pictured L – R: Jan Nicholls Committee Member and Lead Walker, Barbara Thomas Lead Walker, Chris Rich Secretary and Lead Walker, Mariann Harris Chair

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Coffee and cake in the Pavilion

Today's event in the park was well-attended, and £80 was raised for Macmillan Cancer Support - many thanks to all those involved.

 I'm not normally a cake-eater myself, but I did give in to temptation and try the rock cakes, which were delicious.

Meanwhile, the autumn colours in the park are superb ...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Today's event in the park

I've processed a photo I shot at the event today - though maybe OVER-processed would be a more accurate description. I should have posted a more positive version too - I'm sure depression is terrible, but there is so much you can enjoy in life too, if you are fortunate enough to be able to combat the depression. The event was to mark World Mental Health Day. The advice is to talk to your GP, so if depression is a problem for you, please do this.

Forthcoming events ...

Friday, October 03, 2014

Event in the park on Saturday 11th October

Friday, September 19, 2014

Gardening course start date postponed

The start date of the planned gardening course in the pavilion has been put back to 5th November, to allow a bit more time to enrol more participants.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Freshers' Day at Dudley College

FoPP were represented at the event at Dudley College, recruiting volunteers to help us out.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Freshers' Fayre at Dudley College

The Friends of Priory Park were invited to join the Freshers Fayre at Dudley College to promote the valuable work carried out by our committee. The students queued up to find out more about what's going on in the park and about the benefits of volunteering. We signed up fifty four new members! We are hoping to appoint up to five new shadow committee members to provide fresh thinking and ideas to our present committee. Anyone interested in becoming a member or volunteering should text the word 'PARK' to 07790 577655
Pictured L - R Chris Rich Secretary, Gary Turton Treasurer and Mariann Harris Chairperson

Friday, August 29, 2014

Meet Jessica

As you probably know, our regular Senior Park Ranger Lydia is now on maternity leave. Here is Jessica (if you haven't met her already), who will be taking Lydia's place for the next few months.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back to school crafts - 13:30 Wednesday 27th August

A new event for the school holidays - come and get crafty and make some classroom essentials ready for the start of school in September.

As always arrive early so you can guarantee a place.

For more details please email Jessica, or give her a call on the numbers below.

01384 812474
07557 323171

Dudley-by-the-Sea - in action

The Dudley-by-the Sea event was really humming this afternoon - it seem to have been very popular, and of course there is still one more day to go. The weather has been great too, though a lot colder than only a few days ago. Personally I was also pleased to see the new Black Country flag flying there.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dudley By The Sea

We may be about as far from the seaside as it is possible to get in the UK, but it's the thought that counts!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flying the (Green) flag

Following the recent achievement of a Green Flag Award, on Monday there was a photo session with the flag flying at the pavilion.

Monday, August 04, 2014

A new gardening course in Priory Park

The introductory gardening course on Wednesdays in the Pavilion over recent weeks has been very successful, and by popular request a more advanced course is now being planned. It is due to start on 24th September, and gives the opportunity to gain an RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) Level 2 qualification. See the poster below for more information, or contact Senior Park Ranger Lydia Allt on 01384 812474 - booking is essential.

You can download or view the information in an alternative form using this link.

Gardening on the Wrens Nest

Our very successful Wednesday gardening course in the Pavilion is generating a spin-off project at The Wrens Nest Community Centre.

"A new gardening project is being started at the Wrens Nest Community Centre under the auspices of Open Hub. The project will have the name 'Seed and Feed', and will concentrate on growing vegetables and fruit for eating together, involving the local community. Meetings will usually be held on Wednesday mornings between 09:30 and 12:30. There is a web site at: and you can find out more and follow progress there. This project isn't directly related to the courses and other projects on Priory Park, but some of those who have taken part in the course on the Park are taking part, and as it may be of interest to Park users we are posting news about Seed and Feed here."

Sunday, August 03, 2014

Another Award for The Friends of Priory Park

The Friends of Priory Park have won the Green Spaces for Health Award for the second year running. The announcements were made on Friday 1 August at Brierley Hill Civic Centre, where volunteers from the boroughs parks enjoyed a pleasant evening socialising and sharing experiences. Matt Williams, Dudley Council's Assistant Director for Urban Environment talked about how Priory Park had continued to thrive since the Heritage Lottery Funded improvements had taken place and congratulated us on our recent Green Flag Award also. So, for Priory it's a double celebration. Mariann Harris, Chair of The Friends commented on how thrilled she was to be a part of the celebrations. Jan Nicholls and Barbara Thomas (both qualified Walk Leaders) collected the award. Other achievements for Priory included Michelle O'Meara as Sports Enthusiast, Mike Hessey for his contribution to Reporting and Bisade Asolo took the Young People's Award.

Pictured L - R, Mariann Harris, Jan Nicholls, Barbara Thomas

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Green Flag Award

We have just heard that Priory Park has won a Green Flag Award! The Green Flag Award Scheme recognises the best green spaces in the country. Gaining Green Flag status involves a site visit by a judging panel and is by no means automatic, so we are delighted to have achieved this. Congratulations to all those involved in preparing the bid.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Stories around the campfire

The event this evening was very successful - lots of people present, and great entertainment from story teller Sally Tonge. A few photographs from the event are below - I don't think the attempt to video the event was very successful, though I have yet to look at the recordings.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sedgley Morris Dancers in the park

What a wonderful way to spend a lovely sunny summer evening, watching and listening to the Sedgley Morris Men in Priory Park, and what a pity there weren't more there to enjoy it.

There is a link to some of the still photos from the evening HERE, and there is now a 6 minute video on YouTube HERE.

Below, just one shot of the performers ...

... and the whole group, plus A N Other outside the Pavilion.

And if you missed this, they are performing again in the morning of Saturday 19th July at the Open Day at Ashwood Nurseries.

Morris Men and Bowls

Don't forget the Sedgley Morris Men will be performing in the park this (17 July 2014) evening at 8:00pm. I've seen them at other locations, so I'm sure you will enjoy the event if you can get there.

Also, on a 'traditional' theme, you might like to look at today's BBC web site about bowls

... we now have a Bowling Green again in the Park, though as yet for reasons I don't understand, it has not been used seriously yet, but I'm sure there are many who would like to see it in use.

Friday, July 11, 2014

BC In Motion

I went up to the Pavilion around lunchtime today, just to collect a folder I had left behind on Wednesday, and found lots of activity, including two local mayors in attendance and Ian Austin MP, promoting BCInMotion (A Sport England funded programme aiming to get inactive people doing sport)! You can follow the project on Twitter (HERE), and no doubt elsewhere too. It's great to see the Park being used for other things like this - I wish I had known about it though, so that I could have gone prepared - I only had my iPhone with me, and missed most of the action.

There is lots happening locally over the weekend regarding the Black Country, particularly at the Black Country Living Museum and on Saturday at the Dudley Archive (the new building next to the BCLM) -  don't miss it! And the Black Country Day is actually on Monday. You can see the logo/flag on the extreme right of the photo above - apparently flags, stickers etc are running out, so get one while you can! For those into facts, the flag illustrates how the Black Country was famously described as 'black by day and red by night', with chain making a major industry, and of course the glass cone.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Morris Men coming to the Park in July