Most of the Society's year of celebrating our 50th anniversary has been understandably inward looking. But your committee was also eager to create something public which would last. Tom Gondris suggested that we might encourage and help fund improvements to the triangular space in Christchurch Park at the side of the Mansion. It has been a popular place for people's picnics obtained from the kiosk at the Mansion, but it's always looked rather temporary - but not now, with its resurfacing and its new tables, chairs and umbrellas. This has been achieved by the Society's co-operation with the IBC Parks Department and with further financial support from Suffolk Environmental Trust and the Friends of Christchurch Park. Tom Gondris has overseen the project from start to finish.
The official opening took place on Friday, 10 September. [The photo on the front of the Newsletter is a reminder.] Jack Chapman explained the reasons for this project. He recalled that the park and mansion had been a gift to the town from a great benefactor (Felix Thornley Cobbold). However, as he said, few rich people today use their wealth like that, so in its small way the Society wished to add to the town's attractions, particularly as this sort of improvement had not featured in the large-scale restoration of the park funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Mayor, Councillor Jane Chambers, thanked the Society, wished us a happy birthday and cut the ribbon for the official opening. We then strolled up to the Reg Driver Centre (where the Society has installed the Blue Plaque commemorating Felix Cobbold) for a further chat and refreshments.