A community champion whose stalwart efforts in changing the face of Lytham earned royal recognition has stepped down.
Cath Powell, awarded the MBE in 2011 for services to the community, has decided to have a break after being a major driving force 13 years ago in forming the Park View 4U charity which transformed a boggy field into a key Fylde facility.
The charity spearheaded by Cath has raised and invested more than £2m into making the QEII Playing Fields a vital Lytham attraction, now run by seven trustees, including two directors of the on-site cafe, and employing seven full-time staff and 20 part-time.
Park View has received a string of national accolades, including the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services and the Big Society award – and now, with a state-of-the-art sand and water park the latest feature to be unveiled at the site, mum-of-three Cath, Park View’s community development manager, feels it is time to take a back seat.
The 53-year-old has no particular plans at the moment, apart from taking a break with her family and said: “The time is right to step back.
“The past 13 years have been an incredible journey – we have achieved far more than we ever thought possible. We set out to provide some play equipment but have become the hub of the community, a recognised brand that delivers all kinds of community engagement activities, and employs a significant number of people.
“I know of families who have actually moved to Lytham just so their kids can grow up on Park View.
“One of the first things we did was to take the local children on coach trips to decide for themselves what kind of play areas they wanted, they all loved the sand and water play the best, but at the time it wasn’t possible to install it on an unmanned site.
“So how poignant that 13 years later the kids got their sand and water play. They may be too old to enjoy it, but their own children will and they will be able to tell them that they helped to make it happen.”
Allan Oldfield, Fylde Council’s chief executive, said; “Cath’s energy, commitment and enthusiasm is infectious and cannot be ignored.
“She has made Park View 4U the great place it is today through her boundless desire to make a real difference in people lives.”