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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Enough of the trumpets

Enough of the trumpets, Jackie said.
It’s been one of those sort of weeks, our very last week at Ford Park where we’ve both toiled  for over ten years. I don’t say worked because it has never been a job in the sense of the word,  it’s been more of a mission. We were both recruited shortly after the trust was set up to save and develop this almost derelict country estate on the edge of town. Back then it was an overgrown gone to seed space, home to teenage drinkers and druggies. With a down at heal boarded up  grade 2 listed country house, an adjoining boarded up coach house, and the remnants of a walled Victorian kitchen garden, oh and the playing fields.
Now it has been transformed into a beautiful open space with a natural playground, the fields planted out with tens of thousands of spring flowers,  an avenue of lime trees, countless new oak, silver birch and beach trees with an Atlantic cedar right in the middle.
The Coach house  is a thriving five star café with new offices, a community room with a roof terrace with stunning views  across Morcambe bay , and behind it the majestic Sir John Barrow monument three hundred feet above us  on top of Hoad hill. Of course we can’t pay claim to Morcambe bay and Hoad hill, they’ve both been there for a million years or more, but we seem to have made a difference to Ford Park.
We didn’t achieve all of this single handed, but I suppose we did become the captain and first mate who, with the help of countless shipmates steered our ship through some mountainous storms, caught the fair winds, and prevailed when we languished in the doldrums.
Many faces of the crew aboard the good ship Fordusparkus have come and gone over the years, some have perished on the voyage, others moved on. I’m talking here of the trustees, the members, or friends, and above all the volunteers.,
All of us have together have transformed this tiny corner of the world and left a lasting legacy for our adopted town of Ulverston, and this week in particular has been filled, for us with a constant stream of verbal accolades from so many acquaintances, some who have become close friends, others we hardly know.
It’s a very humbling experience, to know how much all this toiling away  has touched so many lives, and each and everyone wants to heap praise and tell us how it was all down to us. To my mind it was all down to the skipper,  Jackie, I was simply carrying out orders, but in the eyes of the crew and the supporters we achieved something special, and I suppose we did,
Leaving any port you’ve grown fond of is always going to be an emotional wrench, and so it is a hundred fold with this departure. Our sights are now set on new horizons and we just want to hoist our sails and slip quietly out on the rising tide. The goodbyes are just too overwhelming, as  I suppose is befitting after such a tempestuous voyage of over a decade, but we leave not with a heavy  heart but with the satisfaction of knowing we made a difference.
But enough of the trumpets already.