MORE than 1,800 visitors flocked to the Berry Hill Park family fun day on Sunday - despite the event being blighted by torrential rain.
Persistent, heavy downpours began to fall shortly before lunchtime at the six-hour spectacular, the first major event at the park since it was given a new lease of life after two clean up days by Mansfield Rotary Club and supported by Chad.
The rain led to a smaller than expected attendance as organisers had originally hoped for a turnout of ‘several thousand’ visitors.
But despite the miserable weather, Rotn Stewart Rickersey remained upbeat about the event and said it had still helped to raise the profile of a park which was once described as the town’s ‘jewel in the crown’.
“The key thing is we’ve obviously restablished Berry Hill Park as a place here to be proud of,” he said. “The park itself looked terrific. The majoriy of people came prepared for the weather and enjoyed themselves.
“If the weather had held, we’d have seen 5,000-plus people. That would have raised a considerable amount of money.
“But we’re undented and unbowed and next year we’ll pray for better weather.”
The event itself featured a host of activities and attractions, including an appearance by a lookalike of England football coach, Fabio Capello.
There was also live music on the restored bandstand, including an appearance by the Pleasley Colliery Welfare Band - believed to have been the first performance by a brass band at the park for more than 30 years.
“That was an emotional high point for many,” added Rotn Stewart Rickersey.
Visitors who braved the heavy rain also enjoyed the numerous fairground rides at the park, while there was also Donkey Derby races and a dog show run by Rotn Paul Bacon and his wife Christine.
Despite the poor weather and the fun day only making a profit of a ‘few hundred pounds’, organisers say ‘the hope’ is to make it an annual event on the calendar.
Another community clean up day targeting ‘specific jobs’ at the park is also expected to take place later in the summer, while a music concert in August or September may also be in the pipeline.
See this week’s Chad for more photos and a full report.