Big support sees park hailed as an ‘asset for Gosport’

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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THE community showed its love for Leesland Park as hundreds turned out to support a festival.

Despite gloomy weather, people of all ages went to the Gosport park for ParkFest 13, which was organised by Friends of Leesland Park.

GREAT FUN Friends of Leesland Park. Pictures: Allan Hutchings (132560-560)

GREAT FUN Friends of Leesland Park. Pictures: Allan Hutchings (132560-560)

There was something for everyone – including a dog show, children’s entertainment, live music, storytelling, local ales and even a plate smashing stall, called the Vent Tent, to get rid of all your stresses.

The free event was aimed at showcasing the open space, which features a community orchard with 50 fruit trees, a conservation area that is teeming with wildlife, as well as an adventure playground, picnicking areas and a skatepark.

The park has come a long way – mainly thanks to community spirit – since 1998 when the Friends formed and were tasked with helping to transform a run-down allotment area.

Hilary Percival, 61, of Carnarvon Road, whose day job is in a preschool, leads the Friends group.

She said: ‘It’s bringing the community together and letting people know what a lovely facility we have got here. We have people who live in this area and don’t know we exist.

‘This park is special because it’s been brought together by the community right from the start.

‘We have tried to have something for everybody.

‘We have had our first dog show so they can be involved a bit more.

‘We don’t charge people. Lots of things here are free so that everybody can be included.’

Rebecca Elliott, from Nobes Avenue, Bridgemary, came to enjoy the entertainment, which included bands from St Vincent College.

‘I always think it’s a really good community feel here,’ she said.

Kirsty Cremer, 33, Gosport and Fareham service manager for Motiv8, was there promoting the youth charity.

She said: ‘We bring young people here to play football. It’s absolutely an asset for everyone in Gosport.

‘I think there’s still a lot of things people would like to see here. The skatepark needs a bit of a tidy up, more lighting, bins. We are working with organisations across Gosport to see what we can do.’

James Percival, 30, who ran the Vent Tent, said: ‘I used to play here when I was little.

‘It’s great it’s not been built on.’