Oliver Tambo Recreation Ground in Haringey has been named at the UK’s Favourite Queen Elizabeth II Field as part of a summer-long campaign by green space charity Fields in Trust to find the UK’s Favourite Parks and celebrate the green spaces that have been so important to us all over the last two years.
A total of 364 local green spaces were nominated by members of the public and over 30,000 people voted for their favourite park. Alongside the UK’s Favourite – Penrhos Coastal Park in Anglesey – home nation winners and local favourites were also selected. A special award, marking the Platinum Jubilee of Fields in Trust Patron, Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was also determined by the public vote and the winner of UK’s Favourite Queen Elizabeth II Field 2022 is OR Tambo Recreation Ground. Formerly known as Albert Road Rec, the park is one of seven Queen Elizabeth II Fields in Haringey*.
In 2012 Fields in Trust inaugurated the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge with the aim of protecting parks and green spaces across the UK to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, the London Olympics and the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Legal protection ensures that the parks which are part of the scheme can never be built on or sold off for development. The programme resulted in 1,388 parks and green spaces covering over 8,500 hectares being protected forever to benefit people, place and planet. This ensures that communities across all four nations of the UK, stretching from Shetland to Cornwall, will have always have access to green space.
Ten years on from the original Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge and to mark the Platinum Jubilee, a special one-off category was added to this year’s UK’s Favourite Parks award to celebrate these spaces. HM The Queen served as Patron of Fields in Trust for seventy years, frequently attending events alongside her husband His late Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, who served for 64 years as the charity’s President.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: “Protection of green space through the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge delivered a fitting legacy for HM The Queen’s longstanding Patronage of our organisation. We know how important accessible green space is for our health, our wellbeing, our communities and our environment. The deeply saddening news of the last week has added extra significance to the award for the OR Tambo Recreation Ground. Congratulations on this success which demonstrates how much local residents value the park.”
The OR Tambo Recreation Ground was renamed in 2021 in memory of South African anti-apartheid campaigner, Oliver Reginald Tambo who spent time living in exile in nearby Muswell Hill. A statue of him gifted by the South African High Commission is located in the park which is very popular for football, tennis and Australian Rules football
Cllr Julie Davies, Cabinet Member for Communities and Civic Life, said: “O.R. Tambo Rec has already been recognised as one of London’s six favourite parks and this additional award is an honour, especially as it commemorates the legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll. I’d like to thank the Friends group, our parks staff and everyone else who has helped to make this park such a popular and welcoming public space. We found out during the pandemic just how much people need parks for leisure and exercise and for the benefits they bring to our residents’ physical health and wellbeing.”
Emma Burridge, Chair of the Friends of O.R. Tambo Recreation Ground, said: “This is fantastic news! To be recognised in this way is ultimate proof of people power, and the feelings local people have towards their local park. This shows what we’ve known locally all along… that by working together, a park can be transformed and really be at the very heart of the community.”
More details about the UK’s Favourite Parks Award and a full list of Local Favourites can be found on the Fields in trust website: https://www.fieldsintrust.org/favourite-parks/local-favourites