Campaigner fights to save park gates

ON the day it opened they were considered "a truly noble entrance to what will, we sincerely believe, be considered one of the finest most beautiful parks desirable".

Part of the generous gift of fishing magnate Christopher Pickering, the wrought iron gates to Pickering Park in Hull were considered so special that they survived the Second World War intact, when many other municipal fixtures and fittings were sacrificed to aid the war effort.

But the years have taken their toll, with paint peeling away, rust setting in and parts going missing.

Now some seven years away from the Park's centenary in 2011, retired haulage contractor Reg Deller, who played in the park as a child, has renewed calls for their restoration.

He has been demanding action for years – and says Hull Council must get its finger out if the work is to be done in time.

The gates – four in all – consist of the double gates onto Hessle High Road and two side gates.

Other fixtures of the park – including gates and fencing that used to be in front of the old peoples' bungalows and chains around two flower beds and grass areas were all removed in 1942.

Mr Deller said: "I have been badgering anyone who would listen.

"These gates are so impressive, their size and their sheer quality. They have been badly neglected – all they have had in the past 100 years is the odd lick of paint. I can't remember them being painted in the last 20 or 30 years."

Mr Deller said he hoped to get consent from the council and then form an interest group, to get cracking on a formal application to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He added: "If councillors and council staff would show just a little interest I could very easily get a few interested people together to form a formal group to take the project forward."

Mike McWilliams, a manager in parks and gardens for Hull Council, said there had been interest from the lottery fund and there was a "good possibility"of it coming off.

Once they had a break-down of costs, it would be a matter of reporting to councillors asking for their support and commitment to match-funding costs.