Bishop Monkton’s Queen Elizabeth II Field has been named Britain’s Best Loved Playing Field by the Fields in Trust organisation.
In a dazzling Oscar-style awards night at Lord’s Cricket Ground in London, represenatives Mervyn Beecroft and Richard Field of Bishop Monkton received the trophy from ex-England and Chelsea footballer Graeme Le Saux as Bishop Monkton won its first national award.
More than 100 finalists representing playing fields from all over Britain attended the ceremony which followed a private tour of Lord’s Cricket Ground, a drinks reception and a sumptuous dinner.
Bishop Monkton Parish Council chairman Mervyn Beecroft played a big role in securing the land for Bishop Monkton playing fields and village hall and their subsequent development.
Speaking after the event, he said: “We are really delighted that our village hall and playing fields have received this recognition, and are grateful to Fields in Trust for all they do to help and encourage us to continue to improve our outdoor areas for sport and play for future generations.”
The event opened with a filmed message from the Duke of Cambridge, the organisation’s new president who this year replaced the Duke of Edinburgh who had fulfilled this role for the previous 63 years. The Queen has been patron for over 60 years.
Prince William congratulated the winners and praised Fields in Trust – the new operating name for the National Playing Fields Association –for the highly important role it plays in protecting the nation’s open spaces.