News and Awards

March 2014
Jennie Randall - Eight Years as Chairman

This is an extract from our March 2014 Newsletter. The full text can be seen in the Reports section.

The Friends of Jubilee Park was established in 2003 as part of an initiative by Bromley Council to encourage the community to participate in the protection and conservation of the green spaces of Bromley. Nick Hopkins, our countryside officer at the time, started the group following a public meeting at Bromley High School. It wasn’t long before it was felt the group could stand on its own and Nick recruited Jennie Randall to take over the chairmanship.
After three years in the post Jennie had done such a good job that the rules were changed so she could continue. She has seen the group through its 10th anniversary year and now, after more than seven years in the post, feels it is time to step down.
Jennie’s achievements in this time have been remarkable. The membership has grown to over 200 households and we are seen as a leading example of what a Friends Group can achieve. Jennie regularly attended our weekly volunteer force and actively contributed to the Work Programme. The group also runs a comprehensive programme of events including walks and talks. Initially many of these were organised by Bromley Rangers but it has been increasingly incumbent upon Jennie to produce the programme, persuading interesting speakers and walk leaders to participate. Highlights in 2013, our 10th anniversary year, were Tom Hart-Dyke talking about the World Garden at Lullingstone and Bob Ogley with his experiences of the Great Storm of 1987.
Jennie is a tireless campaigner. Her successes are too numerous to mention in full but include obtaining grants from many sources for information boards and installing the orienteering course; improving the signage on the cycle tracks, commissioning robust fireproof bins for general and dog waste; organising fund-raising products such as notecards and bags; and leading walks explaining the work of the Friends groups and telling the history of the Park.
Her passion is History and one highlight of her years with us must be the installation of the plaque commemorating the V2 attack on the Crooked Billet in 1944, significant because of the gun-site at Thornet Wood. Jennie spent many months collating first-hand accounts of the event into a booklet “Not Forgotten - The Crooked Billet” which is still selling well. Following the success of this she plunged immediately into writing a history of Jubilee Country Park: "Jubilee Country Park - Its History and Heritage". In addition to donating her time, Jennie has generously donated the profits from both of these books to the work of Friends of Jubilee Country Park.
Jennie is regarded as a mentor to other Friends groups in the Borough and we sincerely hope she will continue to be a mentor to the Friends of Jubilee Country Park.
We all wish her the very best for her future and would like to say “Thank you Jennie for all your hard work and dedication. You are a hard act to follow!”.

9th January 2014
Ian Pannett and I attended an open committee meeting of the Bromley Friends Forum.  You may be interested in the work of this volunteer group which is helping to unite and support Friends groups in Bromley and throughout all London boroughs. - It's important to realise sometimes in our struggles to manage the Park that we are not alone!

See more on their website at www.friendsforum.org.uk.: 

The Friends Forum of Bromley Parks and Green Spaces works in partnership with the London Borough of Bromley to create a better environment for all. Each Friends Group within the Forum helps care for a specific park or green space in the borough. Through the partnership,  users and visitors to our community get a greater say in what goes on in their local areas. Friends can get involved in improving:
The conservation and protection of parks and green spacesThe appearance of parks and green spacesThe recreational facilities available to the general publicThe health, safety and well-being for all visitorsThe educational experience through the natural history and biodiversity of our community 

21st May 2011 Unveiling of the Crooked Billet Memorial Plaque

The Friends of Jubilee Country Park were joined by over 250 people at the unveiling of a plaque outside the Crooked Billet on 21st May in remembrance of all those killed and injured  there by a V2 rocket on Sunday 19th November 1944.



The service was opened by one of three soldiers from the Royal Artillery TA Unit at Grove Park  representing  three soldiers from Thornet Wood Gun Site (now Jubilee Country Park) who were amongst those killed in the incident. 


Jennie Randall, Chairman of the Friends of Jubilee Country Park, welcomed everyone and explained why the Friends of Jubilee Country Park took the initiative to get the plaque installed. When the Friends group was set up one of its objectives was to research the history of the park. In the course of doing this, it was discovered that Gunners Clark, Walker and Webster were amongst those who lost their lives at the Crooked Billet. Because of this connection, on the History Walks which Jennie leads in the park, the story of the V2 rocket attack is told. Many people on these walks started to query why there was no memorial at the Crooked Billet recording what had happened. The Friends therefore decided to do something about it. The plaque was funded by an anonymous donation from a supporter of the Friends. The unveiling curtain was sponsored, and made, by Amity Blinds of Orpington. The refreshments afterwards were sponsored by Asprey Homes of Petts Wood. 
 Jennie Randall flanked by RA TA soldiers 

  Cllr. Colin Smith talked about the importance of this occasion to all the relatives and friends of those involved and the impact the disaster had made on the local community, both at the time and right up to the present day. He also mentioned the Council’s gratitude for the significant contribution made to the local environment by the Friends of Jubilee Country Park and the many other Friends of Parks groups across the Borough of Bromley.


Bob Stewart, MP, then spoke about the terror of that night when everything suddenly changed forever for so many people. The V2 rocket, fired from the Hook of Holland, fell in the forecourt of the Crooked Billet. Twenty seven people were killed, dozens more injured. The devastation spread  across a radius of more than 300 metres.


Ray Holledge, 88, a survivor of the blast (although his mother was sadly killed) was amongst those at the ceremony and Bob Stewart introduced him.  After Mr Stewart had unveiled the plaque, representatives of the Petts Wood and Bromley branches of the British Legion lowered their standards and there was a minute’s silence.  The names of all those killed were also read out-their ages ranging from 11 to 66. The plaque was also blessed by Rev Kevin Cable of St. Augustine’s Church.     Afterwards, those present adjourned  to the Barnard Room at St. Augustine’s Church for refreshments. The hall was packed! Many people had not seen one another for decades and, in one case, two people were reunited after 80 years. The atmosphere was wonderful and much appreciation was expressed for the work of the Friends.   
It required a considerable amount of perseverance in the face of numerous obstacles to have this plaque installed but at last, nearly 67 years later, there is a tribute to all those who were there on that terrible night.

17th February 2011: Press Release-Crooked Billet Blue Plaque

O
ver 66 years after the event, those who were killed and injured in the V2 Rocket attack on the “Crooked Billet”, Bickley, are to be remembered with a blue plaque outside the rebuilt public house (now a Harvester) on Southborough Lane.

The explosion occurred on Sunday 19th November 1944. It resulted in the largest number of casualties in any one incident in the old Borough of Bromley (as it was before boundary changes in 1965). Following extensive research by the Friends of Jubilee Country Park, it is now known that 26 people were killed at the scene of the disaster and at least one other person subsequently died of their injuries in hospital. Dozens more were injured in the blast, the devastation from which extended over a radius of more than 300 metres.

The initiative to get the plaque installed was driven by the Friends of Jubilee Country Park who have an ongoing project to research and record the history of the area that now forms the park. The Friends discovered that three soldiers, from the gun site which occupied much of the park during the Second World War, were amongst the fatalities at the Crooked Billet. However, being military personnel, their names were not recorded on the published casualty list. Because of this connection, during the History Walks which the Friends lead in the park the story of the V2 attack on the Crooked Billet is told. Many people on these walks started to query why there was nothing outside the pub to remember all those involved in this tragedy. The Friends, therefore, decided to do something about it. Funded by an anonymous donation from a supporter of the Friends, the plaque is to be unveiled on Saturday 21st May 2011 at 11.00am by Bob Stewart, MP. All are welcome to join us for this ceremony.

Friends Chairman, Jennie Randall, said “We hope this plaque will be a lasting tribute to all whose lives were affected by this terrible event”.


8th September 2010: The Friends of Jubilee Country Park were awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the London in Bloom Trustees in recognition of their contribution to the London in Bloom Campaign

11th July 2010:
A Bee Orchid was spotted on the Wild Flower walk. The exact location is being protected as this is extremely rare and unexpected. I have been told that the last time we are aware that a Bee Orchid was recorded in the area was in 1897 in the Bickley area. Read more about this special flower on Wikipedia.

17th, 18th May 2010: A Nightingale was heard singing in the Park between Little Thrift and Jubilee Park. Find out more and listen to the song on the RSPB website

21st February 2010: A rare bird, Firecrest (Regulus ignicapillus), was spotted in the Park. You can see and hear this, one of the UK's smallest birds, on the RSPB website here.

16th February 2010: Family Orienteering Challenge at Jubilee Country Park

On a very wet and windy day at Jubilee Country Park, several families took part in an orienteering challenge.  The competitors had to find their way around the park’s orienteering course and test their knowledge as well with a series of questions.  Congratulations to everyone who took part.

Winner’s Table

 Team Name

 Time Taken to Complete Course

 The Lost Six

 44 minutes

 MacNamaras

 58 minutes 

 Dizzy Dogs

 1hr 2 minutes

 The Guinea Pigs

 1hr 30 minutes  

      
2009

One of our leading members won an Outstanding Individual Contribution to Beautiful Bromley Award. This was a £10 gardening voucher.
 

30th June 2009:  Extract from Press Release - New Orienteering Course at Jubilee Country Park

"The Friends of Jubilee Country Park have become the first Friends group in the Borough of Bromley to set up a permanent orienteering course in their park. Orienteering is a sport in which contestants race on foot over a course with the aid of a map and compass.

The scheme arose after a request to the Friends for such a facility from a local Scout troop. Local charity, Give2Give, has kindly funded the £600 cost of the project. The Dartford Orienteering Klubb mapped the park and advised on locations for the checkpoints. The Friends have also worked in partnership with Bromley’s Countryside and Parks Service to install the orienteering posts.


Nick Babb, Cub Scout Leader from the 3rd Petts Wood group, commented “It’s great that the Friends have taken the initiative to create this brand new orienteering course which so many young people will be able to make use of “.

Jennie Randall, Chairman of the Friends of Jubilee Country Park, said “As a group we are very keen to encourage people of all ages to benefit from a more active lifestyle .Our new orienteering course is a great way to keep fit and have fun in our beautiful park. We are very grateful to Give2Give for their support for this project”.

Bromley Countryside Officer, Jenny Price, said “We hope the orienteering course will provide people with a new way of looking at their Local Nature Reserve”. ............


Orienteering Course
  

In 2008 the Friends received a  grant from Give2Give,  to pay for a new orienteering course for Jubilee Country Park. This was designed by members of the Dartford Orienteering Klubb

Sense of place award - 2006

Joint winner for research into the history of Jubilee Country Park. From Bromley Environmental Awards.

Best Friends - 2004

The Friends of Jubilee Country Park won a prize in the Bromley in Bloom awards for being the most innovative rural friends group.

 







Community Web Kit provided free by BT