In 2002 a group of local people came together to form a community group:-
“Friends of Hoylake & Meols Gardens & Open Spaces”
The purpose of the group was to stimulate public interest in the physical and built environment of Hoylake and Meols by wishing to secure improvement of the appearance and facilities offered by the public gardens, promenade and other open spaces and to enhance the amenity of the area generally.
A public meeting was held on the 31st January 2003 at Melrose Hall. With the support of many local people, a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer were elected along with a committee.
Elaine Whalley (MBE) was the Friends first Chairman, Vicky Clarke was Vice-Chair, Gill Norton was Secretary, Tom Singleton was Treasurer, Cynthia was Secretary. Committee members were Pauline Coates, Geoff Edwards, Chris Hall, Pauline Leadsom and Margaret Seville.
Various funds were applied for and received in the first year:-
Wirral Council gardens improvements £2000
Wirral coastal Walkers £373
Communities Initiatives fund £1750
An Autumn fair and coffee morning was held at Melrose Hall and a stall at the Holy Trinity School.
In this first year the group achieved a great deal:-
In the Parade Gardens the five-a-side pitch fencing was renewed, A new bed of shrubs was created.
One of the initial ideas was to create a mosaic and sensory garden in the Parade Gardens , it took ten years to see this idea become a reality in 2012.
Donations were also received from:-
Royal Liverpool Golf Club £250
Newhall Publications £40
Manor Pharmacy £25
40 trees were planted along Market Street and elsewhere, 7500 bulbs were purchased and planted mainly along Market Street. There efforts are still enjoyed as you pass through Hoylake and Meols viewing the splendid colours of the spring daffodils.
Keeping the memento going, in 2004, many trees were planted in Queens Park and plans were drawn up for the regeneration of the Parade Gardens which unfortunately fell foul of a recession.
In 2004 various fundraising activities took place, including
a fun day was held in Queens Park, A group walk, Coffee morning at Melrose Hall, a champagne and strawberry evening was held at the home of Jim & Jan Hardman and a Christmas Grotto was held at Melrose Hall.
A proposal to create a skate-board park in Carr Lane was discussed.
The Parade Gardens Five-A-Side pitch had a make over and the tennis courts were repainted.
Work parties started to tidy and look after some of the beds.
In 2005 the Friends opened the tea kiosk in the Parade Kiosk on a Sunday afternoon, two new picnic benches were installed. In Queens Park a commemorative seat in memory of Stanley Brand, a founder member of the Friends was installed along with three trees (one beech and two cherries).
2006-7, The Friends purchased tables, chairs and a fridge from funds received from Wirral “Open to All” fund, During this time the regeneration of Market Street was well under way for the coming Open Golf tournament. Various fundraising activities took place, including an absail down Leasowe Lighthouse by Anna Appleton which raised £182. Donations were received from West Wirral Bowling Association for £175 and a donation of £100 from Mr Graham Jackson. The Parade Gardens kiosk had a good year , showing a profit of £400.
New benches were installed in the Gardens and Meols Lower Green.
Plans were approved to put lighting in Queens Park.
With the Open Golf coming and a uniformity of trees required for Market Street, many trees that were removed were transferred to Queens Park.
The Friends sponsored two new beds in Queens Park. Mr Graham Jackson donated four beautiful Tai Haku trees in honour of his grand children.
The West Wirral Community Forum funded a new notice board for Queens Park.
A mahogany planter was donated by Merseyrail, this was placed in Parade Gardens adjacent to the kiosk.
2008-10 The Friends of Hoylake and Meols started working closely with Hoylake in Bloom who after the Open Golf looked after all the floral displays throughout Hoylake.
The two groups merged to become “The Friends of Hoylake and Meols in Bloom”.
As they say, the rest is history.
Charity number 1101968
Friends of Hoylake and Meols in Bloom