New trustees take the helm at Clare Castle Country Park

The new board of trustees for Clare Castle Country Park: L to R: Gary Brown, Charmain Hawkins, Derek Blake, Richard Smith, Sharon Benson, Geoffrey Bray, Keith Mison and Kate Terry ANL-161201-095756001
The new board of trustees for Clare Castle Country Park: L to R: Gary Brown, Charmain Hawkins, Derek Blake, Richard Smith, Sharon Benson, Geoffrey Bray, Keith Mison and Kate Terry ANL-161201-095756001

THE TRUSTEES: The new board of trustees for Clare Castle Country Park. Contributed picture.

A group of initial trustees had been running the park since the takeover from Suffolk County Council in March 2015.

In December, Clare residents had the opportunity to stand for election and to take the park forward in its next stage of development. These elections brought five new faces to make up the board of trustees alongside three of the existing trustees who were re-elected.

“I am delighted that we have been able to secure such a strong group of trustees with the professional backgrounds which will be critical to driving the development of the Park,” said Geoffrey Bray the current Chair of Trustees.

“We have a specific range of skills and experience necessary to manage the park professionally and I’m delighted at the team which has now been brought together”.

The elections were managed jointly by Clare Town Council and the existing park trustees in order to ensure that all residents were aware of and could participate in the elections.

The trustees and their roles are: Sharon Benson (finance and legal), Derek Blake (activity planning), Geoffrey Bray (business), Gary Brown (health & safety), Charmain Hawkins (historic buildings & ancient monuments), Keith Mison (green spaces), Richard Smith (history & heritage), and Kate Terry (education).

Paul Bishop, chairman of Clare Town Council, said: ”Taking on the park and buildings that had been neglected for so many years and required so much improvement was always going to be a challenging task.

“Refurbishing the buildings, clearing many of the green spaces and upgrading the park infrastructure at the same time as preparing an HLF bid and involving the community in future plans for the park was a huge achievement by the initial trustees and volunteers. “Although there is still much to do for the new board of trustees, particularly in terms of clearing the waterways, the park now offers space and facilities to be proud of.”

The park and the Clare Park Centre are available for hire by community and private groups and trustees hope that they will be able to attract many visitors to enjoy them. Details at www.clarecastlecountrypark.co.uk and on Facebook.