Walking park to happiness
AS kids my brother and I spent many happy hours playing in People’s Park.
Mum would take us to the swings and paddling pool, we’d watch the budgies in the aviary then search in vain for monkeys in the monkey puzzle tree.
I did sponsored walks and Brownie parades there and held teenage summer picnics. It was a pretty, old-fashioned park, given to the people of Banbury, Oxfordshire, in 1897.
And when I visited last summer it was just the same – full of cherry blossom trees and families enjoying the fresh air.
My home t own has changed dramatically in 50 years and some of the poorest people in the country live in parts of it today.
But that little green haven has survived – unlike many others nationwide.
A study has revealed Britain’s parks are becoming no-go areas for the people who need them most. Litter, dog mess, condoms, broken bottles and dirty drug needles are just some of the “incivilities” keeping folk away. Surprisingly, our most sh p le rol actr deprived areas have the most parks, ks, which are free to use and vital to o health. But they also have moree vandalism and graffiti and are being g neglected.
Yet people who live near parks andd use them regularly are at less risk from asthma and have better mental health and lower stress levels.
While we don’t know about obesity, it seems pretty likely that folk with a nice park on their doorsteps might want to go out for a stroll. Health watchdog NICE says s GPs should send two million patientsts to NHS cookery and exercise classess to tackle the diabetes crisis – with taxpayers yers footing the billion pound bill.
But wouldn’t it be nice if they then n had somewhere to actually exercise?
Kate Ashbrook, of the Open Spaces paces Society, agrees. She urges local authorities orities to “recognise the immense benefitsits of investing in parks and green spaceses to improve people’s health and well-being.”eing.”
And put People’s Parks back in all our towns as havens of health and happiness. COUNTDOWN presenter Rachel Riley has topped a poll of of on-screen sexual fantasy figures.
The comely maths boffin beat Holly Willoughby, Kelly Brook and Caroline Flack to the dubious honour – helped, no doubt, by all those male students who are still in bed at 2pm on a weekday afternoon.
I didn’t bother to see if thereere was also a list for the ladies because there is only one manan on TV for me – Lord M.
Actor Rufus Sewell, who plays Lord Melbourne in Victoria, is a velvet-voiced, doe-eyed, smouldering joy. He’s the perfect, romantic, heart-throb... and the reason I haven’t had to put my central-heating on on a Sunday night yet. Historically, of course, the former PM should be dead by this point in the real Queen V’s reign. But serieseries writer Daisy Goodwin, says she’she’s in love with Melbourne too and couldn’t bear to kill him off. ThaThank the Lord. BlokesBloke may fantasise about a night on the Scrabble tiles with RachelRach Riley, but Rufus SewellSew spells S.E.X. to millionsm of women like me.