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Chair’s Welcome

I am delighted as Chair of the Friends to welcome you to our website. Bushy Park and Home Park are two wonderful large green oases in the south west corner of London. Feeling wild, they are natural places with ancient histories, fascinating heritage and superb wildlife. Both are Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) containing rare species. These are places to be enjoyed and conserved. Which is why the Friends exist, campaigning, supporting and protecting the parks, and enhancing visitors’ enjoyment with information, advice and guidance.

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Annual Report from Annie Murray

On reviewing the events of 2012 it struck me as what an incredible and memorable year we have all witnessed and gosh, didn’t it pass quickly.

The key events for the Friends were firstly, the installation of the Finials in The Historic Water Gardens the results of which I’m sure you will agree is impressive. Click here to read more.

The Queens Jubilee celebrations reached Richmond Park and I was privileged to be introduced to Princes Alexandra who showed a great deal of interest in Bushy and wishes to make a return visit. The downside was the weather, atrocious, wet and windy, negating the possibility of dressing up for the occasion. Boots, raincoats and brollies were the order of the day. I did so admire the Queen and Prince Philip who struggled through the mud and maintained a gracious attitude throughout the proceedings. Click here to read more.

Onto to the Olympics where we welcomed the flame and of course the cycling events. Rosemary recruited over 40 volunteers to help steward the crowds and everything passed without incident. Click here to see the Olympics in the Parks photo competition.

We had a wonderful programme of walks and talks both entertaining and educational and well attended. The Bat walk in September was particularly successful when we attracted over 100 adults and children into Bushy. Click here for our 2013 programme of Walks and Talks.

There were a number of changes to report on, in March we welcomed a new CEO for the Royal Parks, Linda Lennon, and she claims to have a great love of Bushy so let’s hope this manifests itself in future plans for the park.

We also are delighted to have a new patron, Cleve West, who is a local, as well as passionate about the parks and conservation.

The Field Studies Council took over the management of the education facility at the Stockyard; we look forward to working with them to develop more educational aspects to what we do.

We were pleased to see that two locals were recognised by the Royal Parks Guild in their annual honours; Pippa Hyde won the Wildlife Conservation Award and Ray Allen the Lifetime Achievement Award for his long service. Well done and very well deserved.

Bushy was in the news for all the wrong reasons when the media decided we had a rogue deer causing havoc, more positively it gave us the opportunity to educate the public about these wild animals.

Members have been busy in the Parks, planting, stewarding, spotting Oak Processionary Moth nests and manning the Information Point. We hope to extend our efforts next year and look forward to a relaunch at the Pheasantry, following its refurbishment, where we will have a new space dedicated to ourselves.

As you all know we are actively involved in all planning applications that might impinge upon the environs of the parks. And we encourage members to support us in this endeavour.

Early intervention prevented significant damage to Bushy by contractors building the new cricket clubhouse at Hampton Hill. We are the eyes and ears of the parks and we are always anxious to hear about anything happening that you feel is having a negative impact upon the parklands.

Through your generosity we raised over £2500 last year through our appeals. This will be equally divided between Stud Nursery and Thames Landscape Strategy.
Stud Farm will be purchasing a new table and benches and woodworking tools. You will also be aware that we purchased a new lawn mower for them earlier in the year.

Working with TLS we have agreed to fund the construction of a bird hide in the Water Meadows which will overlook the reed beds. Access to this will be limited to prearranged groups to protect the wildlife, we hope to organise two trips a year for the Friends, spring and autumn so look out for details.
Other projects that you have funded include the new reeds in the Water Gardens which are due to be installed in March; this forms part of the ongoing restoration of these unique historic gardens.

In terms of finances our position now is that subscriptions equal expenditure, so we may have to consider raising our subscriptions or alternatively charging non members for events. Any thoughts you have on this on would be most appreciated. Please do drop me a line at chairman@fbhp.org.uk.

Finally, I would like thank all the trustees and members of the committee for their work and enthusiasm throughout the year, There are so many people deserving of special thanks that we could be here all night, but in particular thanks goes to Pieter who has been so supportive and Jane Cliff who has dedicated endless hours to not only walks and talks but to developing our merchandise. A special thank you to Gillian O for all the hours spent filing and scanning documents, and also to Simon Richards who has been receptive and generous in his dealings with us. Carol and Mark continue to be the unsung heroes managing our wonderful website.

That concludes the annual report.

The committee

It was announced long serving member of the Friends Tom Blaney would be standing down. Tom became Chairman in 2004 and acting Treasurer in 2006. On stepping down as Chair in 2007 he has continued in his Treasurer’s role. We owe Tom an enormous debt of gratitude for his dedication and hard work, especially in respect of his major achievement in obtaining charitable status for the Friends. His diligence has ensured that our finances are in good shape. He was presented with a holly, but no ordinary holly bush but taken as a cutting from the last remaining holly tree in the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace prior to its restoration in 1995.

Annie Murray was voted in as Chair for a further year as were the other existing committee members.

John Elrick takes on the role of Treasurer and Trustee and was welcomed to the committee. John worked latterly for the National Audit Office and has recently retired and is really keen to be get involved with park.

It was announced that Carol Ruddock was happy to be nominated again as our auditor, this was agreed.


The following motion was put to members and agreed upon. Both of these historic appeals monies being no longer viable.

‘That the monies collected for the 2000 Appeal (£920 for Drinking Fountain refurbishment) and the 2006 Appeal (£1193 for the Admiralty monument) be transferred to supplement the £1666.93 collected in 2006 for interpretation boards in the area around the Heron Pond in Bushy Park.’

The purpose of these boards is to educate visitors about the environment they find themselves in, and we are hoping to have these in place in the spring.

Looking forward to the 2013 Appeal Annie announced that after consultation with park management it has been decided that the creation of two funds would be practical, namely a fund that would benefit planting and one that would focus upon refurbishment. This would allow some flexibility around supporting the most important needs in the park which RP and Historic Palaces are unable to fund through their own budgets.
For example we are considering funding metal tree crates in strategic locations on the main avenues to protect trees.

Replanting in the Woodland Gardens remains a priority, and with our help we can ensure that these spaces retain their ambiance.

FBHP will ensure that everyone is kept informed of our plans on a regular basis via the website, the email news service and the newsletter.

Annie Murray, Chair of the FBHP
22 February 2013

Walks & Talks

Forthcoming event

Friday, 25th Jan 8:00 pm

Talk by Ian Jones-Healy “Dr John Langdon Down and the history of Normansfield“.

Latest report

On the morning of Saturday 3 November a group of members of the Friends assisted Sharon Evans, the Bushy Park Head Gardener, in planting an area of the Woodland Gardens.

Full report...