Fields group shares funds before winding up

A GROUP that guaranteed an area will stay green has handed out funds to local good causes before it winds up.

At one point, Clayton Playing Fields Action Group was described as ‘the most successful in the country’ after it fought off several attempts to build on it. Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Oldham Athletic all tried to get their hands on it and all were sent away after the group challenged and won a legal ruling that it must stay green.

It has also been designated as a Town Green, sealing the fact that it will not be turned into concrete.

Now after more than 30 years of campaigning and making sure Clayton Playing Fields will stay as just that, the group is winding up.

But not before giving over some of its funds to Dr Kershaw’s Hospice, hospital radio station Radio Cavell and Oldham Mountain Rescue Team to the tune of £2,500.

“It all boiled down to who owns the land,” said John Walton of the Clayton Playing Fields Action Group.

“A couple of our members looked into the legal side of it all and if it hadn’t been for them, we wouldn’t have been anywhere near as successful.

“If it wasn’t for us, I think the fields would have had a Marks and Spencer built on it and even then, there was no guarantee of it being successful as the retail sector has changed so much.“However, we became the best-organised group in the country and we proved it could not be built on, with it becoming a designated Town Green in 2001.”

As the group prepares to wind up, Dr Kershaw’s received £1,500 with Radio Cavell and Oldham Mountain Rescue Team £500 each, with a presentation being made, appropriately, at Clayton Playing Fields.

And Lisa Buckley, corporate fundraiser for Dr Kershaw’s, admitted the donation will make a big difference.

The facility on Turf lane in Royton costs £3.1 million a year to run and only £1 million comes from the Care Quality Commission, with the rest being made up of donations from individuals and groups.

Lisa said: “We’re currently rebuilding our in-patients unit and there are going to be rooms which will allow families to stay with the patients.

“They are going to really improve the quality of their stay.”

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