Massive summer party in People's Park to celebrate its 100th anniversary

A massive summer party will celebrate the 100th anniversary of People’s Park on Sunday, July 14.

The free party will run from 10.30am to 3.30pm and start with a colourful procession through the streets led by the Shires Royal British Legion Youth Band.

A special flower arrangement in People's Park to mark the centenary. Photo: Banbury Town Council

A special flower arrangement in People's Park to mark the centenary. Photo: Banbury Town Council

Around 200 people led by a Fine Lady on a White Horse will join the parade in a repeat of the park’s opening ceremony in 1919.

Back then, the Fine Lady procession was greeted in the park by Lord North, the High Steward of Banbury at the time, who officially opened the amenity.

This year, the procession will be met by current High Steward Sir Tony Baldry who will get the party underway.

The birthday celebrations will include stalls, games, dog show, food, music and entertainment for people of all ages.

Town mayor John Colegrave said: “People’s Park is a place that holds happy memories for many people. They might have visited as children, parents, and grandparents.

“The centenary celebrations will be a fun day for everyone and a chance to remember how the town’s first real park came about.”

The land was purchased with money bequeathed by benefactor George Vincent Ball who was a dispensing chemist in Parson’s Street – and through his customers realised the need for a proper park.

Mr Ball’s will stated his money should be used 'to provide land as a park for the recreation of all classes of the public during every day of the week from sunrise to sunset all year round to be ornamentally planted and laid out and to be called People's Park'.

The land has been maintained and improved since then by successive local councils - Banbury Town Council is the current custodian and ensures the terms of the will are adhered to.

The council is organising the centenary party with the help of a local residents group.

Group member Frankie Brown said: “People’s Park is a wonderful place and its 100th birthday party will be a happy and memorable event that we’re all looking forward to.”