Word had spread about the public opening of the Diamond Jubilee Gardens on 24th June – due largely to the sterling last minute distribution work undertaken by TRTG and volunteers from other local community groups – and people of all ages came along to see what was happening and participate in this historic and long looked for event.
There was a great deal of praise – the event being judged a great success – from those that attended and many people gave our members thought provoking suggestions and observations. Such as the need for bicycle racks, seating to face out towards the river, more covered areas to shelter from the rain, and fencing to the perimeter planted area of the playground so that children cannot wander off. We will be passing on this feedback to the Council and incorporating, wherever possible, some of the ideas into our own plans for the future of the site and its environs.
People asked us about the opening hours of the gardens, security and policing (CCTV cameras, etc); whether they can drink alcohol on the site, are the gardens permanent, what is the next stage, etc, etc. Some of the question we could answer, some are subject to decisions by the Council. As soon as we get details we will create a FAQ page on this site (to include any relevant Council links, etc).
The event was so successful and so many people wanted to join in the fun and festivities there were a number of times when that most British of institutions, the queue, materialised. Although, the area could have accommodated more, the limit of people who were legally allowed on the site, at any one time, was four hundred and ninety nine. This was because it was subject to a ‘Temporary Event Notice’ – which was organised by the Council. We live and learn and its hardly surprising that so anticipated an occasion was a ‘must go’ for over two thousand five hundred people. And let’s not forget that the site hadn’t seen as great a number on it for, at least, thirty-two years!
We had a great many very well-mannered dogs attending the event with their equally well-mannered owners.
Finally, one elderly lady who came to the gardens wept when she read the inscription surrounding the Diamond Jubilee tree. She said she never imagined that something so wonderful could be made on the site!
The Gardens are a wonderful facility – a community focal point in the heart of Twickenham – and we plan to encourage people to use it and keep it vibrant. We must ensure it remains as a community open space for future generations. After all, it belongs to us all now…