All posts by Jo Earlam

About Jo Earlam

Writer, runner, fundraiser, community volunteer.

The Otter’s favourite riverside retreat and recreation spot

benchTIPTON ST JOHN PLAYING FIELD ASSOCIATION – registered charity 1017119

We’re so lucky in Tipton St John to have this eight acre riverside meadow for our outdoor recreation. It’s a popular spot with locals and visitors from close by and further afield.

Used extensively by dog walkers and for general open-air activities, it’s also home to our cricket, football and tennis clubs. It has a pavilion with showers and kitchen, and a children’s play area with swings and climbing frames.

The field has been owned by the village and managed by a small committee of volunteer trustees, since being sold by a local farmer in November 1966. With nowhere to play football, a group of local people initially put up the £1,700 required, and a team of fundraisers collected the money to buy the land for the village. It was duly handed over to the newly formed Tipton St John Playing Field Association on 16th May, 1967.

noticeboardThe early years saw a huge amount of effort as the land was first levelled and made suitable for football and cricket and the pavilion was built. Then work led to the car park and the children’s play area being installed, first one tennis court and then another, and an upgrading of the children’s play equipment. More recently efforts have been directed at trying to combat the river bank erosion.

The field has been subject to severe flooding and damage to facilities over the years, however, local people, the sports clubs, and the association committee have always been resilient in carrying out repairs and restoration. After the severe storm of October 2008 when flood water reached more than three feet in the pavilion, the interior had to be entirely re-plastered and both tennis courts had to be totally rebuilt. It was thanks to the Rotary Club of Otter Valley, which was instrumental in providing grant aid, that the rebuild was possible. Further flooding has followed since and it’s an on going tussle with the river.

The field is always busy, being used most weekends for football or cricket, all year for tennis, by the local the primary school, and from a wide surrounding area by dog walkers and families for picnics and games.

Over the years a huge number of people have served on the committee, and many more have given time and resources to provide practical or financial help. Horse shows, dog shows, summer fairs, car boot sales and runs have been held for enjoyment and fundraising. Indeed, the playing field would not be here if it wasn’t for the continued generosity of local residents and supporters.

The field and children’s play area is maintained entirely by donations, mainly through an annual door to door collection, money put in the car park donation box, and other fundraising organised by the association and supporters.

The facilities are available for hire, the cost being: £10 for meetings in the pavilion; £30 for Photo0063functions in the pavilion; £50 for use of the field for a function, including marquee weddings (marquees to be hired independently).

For all general queries please contact committee chairman David Birch on 01404 815402.

Please respect our playing field and facilities, and do enjoy them!

 

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