Churchfield: A Lasting Achievement
Thanks to Barbara Priest

When it comes to voluntary organisations, enthusiasm waxes and wanes, commitment comes and goes, people get tired. It takes someone like Barbara to stick with it and get the job done. At the very start of our project, way back in 2010, I went with Barbara to find out the views of people throughout Denby Dale regarding the state of Churchfield. Many people knew the field; most of them wanted to see it better cared for and properly managed; some 80 joined the Friends to help us to achieve this.

Throughout the process, Barbara has held it together, putting in literally hundreds of hours at her computer, on the phone, in meetings and at her kitchen table with piles of paperwork, including that for the Lottery Grant application, which enabled us to bring about our vision for the field. She, more than anyone else, is responsible for achieving the beautiful space you see today.

From left to right: Rose Evans (10 Villages volunteers), Roger Bedford and Andy Ingham (Allotments), Lorraine Fletcher (Friends of Churchfield), Trevor Langley (10 villages volunteers) and Barbara Priest.

As the project nears its completion, Barbara has stood down as Chair of Friends of Churchfield. Taking over from her as Chair we are delighted to have a “safe pair of hands” and a safe pair of binoculars in Alan Coe, who was recruited to the Friends a couple of years ago whilst innocently photographing kestrels on the field. Welcome, Alan, and thanks for stepping in.

The Friends are now ably supported by a small but strong Committee, an enthusiastic and hardworking Countryside Officer, and many of the allotment holders, who are managing “their” area of the field so skilfully as well as becoming Friends of Churchfield themselves.

We could not be happier at what we have achieved so far. We foresee a bright future for a little piece of land which will remain – at least for the twenty-five years the lease has to run – a testament both to the history of Denby Dale, and to the current custodians who have worked so hard to preserve it for people and wildlife.

Thank you, Barbara, from all of us.

Lorraine Fletcher
Friends of Churchfield
May 2017