PARTY IN THE PARK
In 1977 a group of volunteers from within the Little Aston community formed a committee to organise an event to celebrate the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. In 2011 Alan Wilson, who was one of those involved in the Silver Jubilee celebrations thought that another community celebration to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee should take place. A committee was formed from within about 40 members of the community at a meeting held in Little Aston Village Hall. 15 people expressed a desire to be part of the organising committee. Meetings were held, Alan was elected as Chairman, Sheila Shaw as Secretary and David Morris as Treasurer. Party in the Park was born!
Decisions were quickly made as to our objectives and ideas developed. Bearing in mind that the group had no affiliation to any organisation and no funds the challenge to raise approximately £12,000, which the day’s events were going to cost, became more of a hurdle. The strengths from within the committee were such that we had broken even on costs before the first ticket was sold.
This was not only due to the commitment of those involved but their determination and enthusiasm to provide an event that had never before been attempted in Little Aston. We were very fortunate to have a number of sponsors and the local Community Association and Shenstone Parish Council gave grants. Friendships within the committee soon developed as many had been strangers before the first meeting.
Such was the success of the event, which was supposed to be a one off, that £12,000 profit was made. The committee had, from the outset, decided that any profit made would be given to the Recreation Ground Association because it was raised by the community for the community and so the proceeds should go to the community. Thankfully no loss was made – goodness only knows what that outcome would have brought! 1,800 people were present at the event and all, without exception, wanted to know when the next event would be held.
Due to the fact that a tremendous learning curve had taken place and of its success the unanimous decision was to continue. The Recreation Ground Association asked if the following Party in the Park could be organised for them. Those involved had no objection especially as we would now have a financial umbrella over us.
The rest is history, four annual events have taken place with each year seeing improvements. Substantial profits have enabled the Recreation Ground Association to not only maintain the ground but to add improvements.
After four years as Chairman Alan has stepped down but remains on the committee. The new Chairman is Mark Watkins who has served so well on the committee. We all look forward to this year’s event which we know will continue to improve.