Gerald Lee Pocket Park opens to fanfare - but is it Britain's smallest?

Gerald Lee Pocket Park opens to fanfare - but is it Britain's smallest?

A local youngster helps the mayor as he opens the park named in his honour

Youngsters enjoy the sunshine at The Gerald Lee Pocket Park

A little girl enjoys The Gerald Lee Pocket Park

PARK PRIDE: Darlington Mayor Gerald Lee cuts the tape with shears to open the Pocket Park at Victoria Road. Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK PRIDE: Darlington Pocket Park on Victoria Road. Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK PRIDE: Darlington Mayoress Ruth Lee with children at the official opening of the Pocket Park on Victoria Road. Picture: ANDY LAMB

PARK PRIDE: Darlington Mayor Gerald Lee with children at the opening of the Pocket Park at Victoria Road. Picture: ANDY LAMB (8731160)

First published in News
Last updated

SERENADED in the sunshine by a brass band playing ‘It’s a Small World After All’, a colourful crowd in resplendent headgear gathered to celebrate the long-awaited opening of The Gerald Lee Pocket Park.

Measuring just 25 square metres, the park was created by a band of dedicated residents who transformed the site from a scrap of derelict land into a bright and colourful – if tiny – park.

Sitting under an advertising billboard on Victoria Road, it features an array of eye-catching flowers, seating areas, a bird box, bee hotel and even a miniscule pond.

Inspired by an idea from Darlington councillor Paul Harman, The South Terrace Residents Association – helped by supporters including the Darlington Guerrilla Gardeners and Friends of the Earth – spent months, but only £17, transforming the site.

Named in recognition of the environmentally-friendly work of Darlington’s mayor, Councillor Gerald Lee, the park will now be pitted against Prince’s Park in Burntwood, Staffordshire in a bid to be named the country’s smallest park.

The mayor opened his park with the help of local youngsters, cutting the ribbon to a fanfare from the Vintage Cockerton Brass Band.

Addressing the cheering crowd, he said: “I’m delighted to be here opening a park named after me and think everybody involved needs congratulating.

“They’ve taken pride in their community and have taken a derelict bit of ground and created such a beautiful area that will lift the hearts and minds of anyone going past.”

Looking her best in a flowery hat from Peacocks and a smart blue dress, eight-year-old Maya Watson helped with the opening ceremony.

She said: “I first started helping by taking out weeds and putting plants in and it’s pretty amazing seeing it like this today because at first I thought we might not be able to do it.

“It’s good it’s near South Park because that means there’s a big park and a baby park just round the corner.

“I was nervous helping but it’s been good – I think the mayor’s really nice and I’m glad the park’s named after him.”

Together with Councillor Paul Harman, the mayor is encouraging green-fingered people across Darlington to set up similar projects in a bid to improve the appearance of the town by maintaining other patches of derelict land.

He also said he was disappointed with recent comments made by council leader Bill Dixon criticising the naming of the park, saying political venom had no place in such a lovely community story.

Anyone interested in transforming plots of land in their neighbourhood should email phillippa.scrafton@darlington.gov.uk or call 01325 406648.

Comments (6)

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10:49am Wed 30 Jul 14

pager11 says...

What a fantastic community coming together to create this Park, it is a pity puffing billy tried to detract from the good which people had done. Good always prevails in the end, just keep off the sauce Bill!!!, then you might keep your neck wound in. At least this little gem of a park will put Darlington in the news for the right reasons and not for Puffing Bill (OBE) nominated and his nonsensical ideas. Good luck to all concerned.
What a fantastic community coming together to create this Park, it is a pity puffing billy tried to detract from the good which people had done. Good always prevails in the end, just keep off the sauce Bill!!!, then you might keep your neck wound in. At least this little gem of a park will put Darlington in the news for the right reasons and not for Puffing Bill (OBE) nominated and his nonsensical ideas. Good luck to all concerned. pager11
  • Score: 20

12:26pm Wed 30 Jul 14

MST1975 says...

its a scandal that Bill Dixon was not there to witness the opening of such a good community effort
its a scandal that Bill Dixon was not there to witness the opening of such a good community effort MST1975
  • Score: 11

12:28pm Wed 30 Jul 14

loan_star says...

pager11 wrote:
What a fantastic community coming together to create this Park, it is a pity puffing billy tried to detract from the good which people had done. Good always prevails in the end, just keep off the sauce Bill!!!, then you might keep your neck wound in. At least this little gem of a park will put Darlington in the news for the right reasons and not for Puffing Bill (OBE) nominated and his nonsensical ideas. Good luck to all concerned.
Bill Dixon, OBE nominated? Does that stand for Obese Blundering Entity?
Bet he wasnt at the ceremony, makes a change from grabbing any chance to claim expenses......
[quote][p][bold]pager11[/bold] wrote: What a fantastic community coming together to create this Park, it is a pity puffing billy tried to detract from the good which people had done. Good always prevails in the end, just keep off the sauce Bill!!!, then you might keep your neck wound in. At least this little gem of a park will put Darlington in the news for the right reasons and not for Puffing Bill (OBE) nominated and his nonsensical ideas. Good luck to all concerned.[/p][/quote]Bill Dixon, OBE nominated? Does that stand for Obese Blundering Entity? Bet he wasnt at the ceremony, makes a change from grabbing any chance to claim expenses...... loan_star
  • Score: 7

3:30pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Rage against apathy says...

Although Councillor Dixon is trying to kill the town centre off with parking charges and restrictions coupled with over zealous Council Traffic Wardens, he could have attended this ceremony with ease; you get three hours free parking just around the corner at 'Sainsburys'. Shame.
Although Councillor Dixon is trying to kill the town centre off with parking charges and restrictions coupled with over zealous Council Traffic Wardens, he could have attended this ceremony with ease; you get three hours free parking just around the corner at 'Sainsburys'. Shame. Rage against apathy
  • Score: 6

3:39pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Got Ya says...

I bet the local dogs will love it!
Pity it wasn't big enough for a couple of caravans.......lol.
I bet the local dogs will love it! Pity it wasn't big enough for a couple of caravans.......lol. Got Ya
  • Score: -1

7:51pm Wed 30 Jul 14

Chocmonster7 says...

Well done to all involved for seeing this through and not being put off by outside moaners!
Well done to all involved for seeing this through and not being put off by outside moaners! Chocmonster7
  • Score: 7

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