A KILDWICK field named after a child who died in 1928 has been transformed by modern-day volunteers.
People from the neighbouring villages of Kildwick and Farnhill have built a garden area on part of the Peggy Wilson Field.
Work has been carried out throughout most of this year on the ‘Peggy’s Garden and Grow Project’, with the new-look area due to be officially opened next spring.
The land is overseen by the Peggy Wilson Playing Field Trust, whose trustees include representatives from the local church, Kildwick Hall, the parish council, parents and the school.
The trust was originally set up following Peggy’s death in order to benefit local children and maintain the field for future generations.
School head Tim Whitehead said Peggy’s Field was the only playing field and green space in the local area, and was predominantly used by the school.
He said: “The trust wanted to explore how it could best utilise the green space to break down local barriers and improve community spirit and cohesion across the villages.
“Following a thorough consultation with the community, it was clear that they wanted a growing and nature based space where old and young could come together.”
“I am hopeful that this project will have a lasting impact on the whole community of Farnhill and Kildwick and also give the pupils lots of opportunities to extend their learning out of the classroom.
For the Garden and Grow Project, Mr Whitehead secured funding from the National Lottery’s Awards for All fund, the Ernest Cook Trust, the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, the CCraven Trust, Tesco, the Temperance Hall and Kildwick and Farnhill Parish Council.
Mr Whitehead said work on building the pathways began during February this year, with a dry spell helping greatly.
He said: “The Woodland Trust donated 120 hedgerow plants and these were planted before the end of the winter.
“There were three community days in April, May and June where raised beds were created, wild flower beds were sown, butterfly flowers and herbs were planted, trees were planted, and log seating for a Forest School AREA were put together.
“Staff, pupils and members of the community came out in force to make this happen.”
From September onwards, the finishing touches have been made to the garden area and the school has focussed its efforts on purchasing gardening and Forest School equipment.
Sarah Denurtcheylo, the project manager and Forest School leader, has spent time with each class leading Forest School activities in the garden area.
She has also led training for school staff on how to run their own Forest School sessions, meaning the garden area is already being utilised by schoolchildren.
Sarah said she had thoroughly enjoyed working with the communities of Farnhill and Kildwick alongside the pupils and parents of Kildwick Primary School.
She added: “I am sure this project will have a long lasting effect on all concerned.”
A ‘marshmallow’ toasting fire pit and barbecue event is being planned for the whole community.
A rose named ‘Peggy’ will be planted in memory of Peggy Wilson, the daughter of the then owner of Kildwick Hall in 1928.
Kildwick resident Anthony Sibley said the Peggy Wilson Trust had existed for almost 100 years with the purpose of promoting and maintaining a playing field used by the school and village.
He said “It supports the promotion of physical activity and play for all ages in a safe environment in the community, as well as its use as a primary recreation area for the school.
“We hope the Garden and Grow project will bring huge benefits to the schoolchildren of Kildwick, in the education of nature and broader skills for their future as well as encouraging involvement from the wider community.
“From hard work done by the school and local volunteers, a relatively unusable area of the playing field has been turned into a garden of learning for the schoolchildren as well as a picturesque place for locals to relax and view the Aire Valley.”
Mr Sibley said the upcoming community were chance for local people to work alongside the school to maintain and improve a village asset her future children and the local community.
Peggy Wilson was actually Margaret Dorothy Wilson, the daughter of Colonel Richard Wilson who died in 1912 at a very young age.
The colonel was at the time the owner of the Kildwick estate, with many generations of the Wilson family living at Eshton Hall at Gargrave.
Col Wilson, whose wife was Annabella Margaret Walker-Drummond, daughter was born in 1889 died in 1936, at the age of 81. The couple only had the one child.
During his military service, Col Wilson served first in the Royal Navy then the Army, serving in the Ashanti War, Afghanistan, Sudan, Suakin and the Boer War, and receiving the Distinguished Service Order.
In 1928, in memory of his daughter and to help benefit the children of Kildwick Primary School and the village, the playing field land was donated and a charity set up to ensure the playing field was maintained for future generations.
A memorial to ‘Peggy’ can be found in the churchyard of Gargrave Church.
When it was set up in 1928, the trust was originally known as the Peggy Wilson Playing Field With Gazebo.
The gazebo was a double storey structure located on the playing field, prior to its demolition in the 1950s.
The trust’’s website states said: “In subsequent years the charity was renamed to Peggy Wilson Playing Field to allow for the fact that there is no longer a gazebo and the previous name was a bit of a mouthful!
“The charity has no formal income and is reliant on the help of Kildwick Parish Meeting and Farnhill Parish Council as well as Kildwick Primary School to assist with the cost of basic maintenance to the playing field.”
According to the website, the current trustees are Richard Dobbins, Gary McKinney, Tim Whitehead and Anthony Sibley.
Kildwick Church of England Primary School is closely linked with the adjacent St Andrew’s Church, the pupils using the church for Collective Worship and services throughout the Christian calendar.
There is evidence that a church has existed on the current site since the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086.