Amazing volunteers transform Ilkley's riverside parks

The Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP) have had a busy summer of toil and achievement in Ilkley’s Riverside Parks as the photos show.

“We are aware it’s been a tough time for everyone during the Pandemic”, said Ed Duguid, Chair of the Friends group. “However, our mission has always been to improve the Park areas so all visitors from far or near can enjoy them at their best. We hope in a small way we have contributed to people’s enjoyment of the Parks this summer, making them feel a little better”. So what exactly have they been doing?

“People may recall they started off the summer by refurbishing the Memorial area at Riverside Gardens. This was reported in the media earlier in the summer. Volunteers came back as soon as “Lockdown” was lifted and started working hard in the Park areas twice a week throughout the summer. A safe working procedure was agreed with the Council. Work Parties are organised by Doug and Glynis Mowat and Ed, and advertised to followers each week, now nearly 100 contacts and 900 followers on Facebook!

“You’d see them on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings every week” said Ed, “We now have an amazing number of regular volunteers. Some like to Litter Pick and keep the areas clean and tidy and the areas are now looking great. We believe we have the “The Oldest Pickers in Town” in Beryl and Roy, who put us all to shame. We also have a dedicated team of volunteers in Charles, Paul and Peter, who edge the paths making them look smart and also wider! We also have another team led by Doug and Ed, who have been renovating the benches and bins, sanding them down and re-staining them, combined with a small group of keen horticulturists in Glynis, Claire, Bridget and Tony who have been looking after the flowerbeds and the area around the Riverside Hotel, which has been transformed and many people regularly sit around and chat in the sunshine when it happens (socially distanced of course!). The benches were worn and the wood beginning to rot away and the bins were rusted and worn out and looked terrible. Some were installed as a donation from the then Ilkley Festival in 1989! Now they look almost new. There is also our specialist coppicing team under Mark’s guidance, which have been trimming back overgrown trees and saplings which have until now obscured views of the river.