London park 'protected' under Centenary Fields process

A west London park built to honour those who died in World War One has been given Centenary Field status, dedicating it as a protected green space forever.

HRH the Duke of Cambridge planting poppies with local children
HRH the Duke of Cambridge planting poppies with local children

The Duke of Cambridge, president of the Fields in Trust charity officially designated Kensington Memorial Park in west London with the status in a ceremony yesterday, 10 November.

Run by national charity Fields in Trust, in partnership with The Royal British Legion, Centenary Fields protects playing fields, parks and green spaces as a living memorial to those who lost their lives during World War One. 

Centenary Fields remain owned and run by the local authority or other landowner, in this case The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC), but are considered legally protected after the council signs a deed of dedication which is then lodged with the Land Registry.  

Kensington Memorial Park was created in the 1920s and established as a memorial to the servicemen of the local neighbourhood who fought in WWI. Speaking at the event the Duke of Cambridge said: "In the two years remaining until the anniversary of the first Armistice Day, Fields in Trust will be working with more local authorities to secure more recreational spaces as Centenary Fields."

They will succeed, but only if they have help, so I urge others to support this important cause and protect these living spaces of remembrance for generations to come."

The duke met local children from Barlby school and planted Flanders Poppy seeds with children from St Charles School as a mark of remembrance before unveiling a plaque and dedicating the park.

Fields in Trust chairman of trustees, Tim Phillips, said the park would now remain "a place to nourish physical health and mental well-being.

"It was a delight to have local young people in the park with us today. We honour the fallen of World War One by providing future generations of children a play to play freely, a pitch to enjoy sport, learn the benefits of team-work, of effort rewarded and, a quiet place for reflection and stillness."

"This Centenary Field and the scores like it across the UK will safeguard parks and gardens valued and enjoyed by their local community for generations to come".

RBKC's mayor, councillor Elizabeth Rutherford said:  "When Kensington Memorial Park was opened ninety years ago the then mayor spoke of his hope that it would be used by successive generations for recreation and health.  His words were well-chosen, as the park today remains a popular and well-used amenity for local people at all times of the year."

Centenary Fields protected through the programme can be parks, recreation grounds, or gardens which contain war memorials or have links to WWI.

The Royal British Legion’s national president, Air Marshal David Walker said the project ensured that green spaces created in memory of service men and women who died in the Great War will be a living legacy for generations to come.

"These community spaces form a vital part of local heritage, play a key role in educating the next generation about the significance of Remembrance, and will now stand in perpetuity to uphold the memory of the fallen."

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