‘Magical’ Priory Park 100 ‘couldn’t have gone any better’

A ‘magical’ week of Priory Park 100 celebrations came to an end last weekend.

One hundred years ago, the park was given by the seventh Duke of Richmond and Gordon to the people of the city, for their leisure and as a perpetual memorial to the fallen in the First World War.

From left, Stuart Ingrey, Richard Jenner, (Queens Regiment) and David Tilley and John Walters (Royal Sussex Regiment). Picture by Derek Martin

From left, Stuart Ingrey, Richard Jenner, (Queens Regiment) and David Tilley and John Walters (Royal Sussex Regiment). Picture by Derek Martin

The Friends of Priory Park and Priory Park Festival combined for ten days of centenary celebrations.

Organiser Richard Plowman said the event ‘couldn’t have gone any better’.

He added: “Ever since the weather improved last Sunday, it has been a brilliant week.

“We had a magical ending, with the cricket which was attended by more than 1,500 people.

“It was great to see so many people.

“The Duke of Richmond’s XL won by one run in the last bowl.”

Town crier Richard said the week was capped off on Sunday by a ‘moving’ Drum Head Service and 100 Choir conducted by Emily Barden.

“That was also magical and we were lucky with the weather,” he added.

“It was a wonderful week.”

On Friday, an ambitious world record Teddy Bear Picnic attempt was made, but they fell short of the huge target of 33,000.

However, the event brought in a respectable 2,500 teddies and Richard said everyone involved had a ‘really good time’.

He was also in awe of the ‘impressive’ Rolls-Royce parade and static display.

The event came after 18 months of preparation and also served to underline the value of parks and green spaces within our communities. It also reconnected the city with its past.

Speaking before the event’s opening, Richard said that today’s ‘relentless focus’ on owning the future means we are in ‘increasing danger’ of detaching ourselves from the past.

He said the first couple of days were a ‘battle against the weather’ which put a high number of people off and led to the parachute jump being cancelled.

However, Richard, whose particular highlight was the ‘extraordinary’ Astronomy in the Park event, said there had been a ‘great sense of community’ with many new faces coming to the park to get involved.

He added: “I couldn’t have hoped for a better week.

“There was a magical atmosphere.

“It made us very proud of Priory Park and Chichester.”

See also: Priory Park 100 showing ‘great sense of community’

VIDEO: Chichester's Priory Park in 100 objects!

Centenary celebration for Chichester's Priory Park