THE trustees of a park in Wantage that commemorates the former Poet Laureate and town resident, Sir John Betjeman, are calling out for a helping hand.

Describing the park as a "haven" David Attenborough would applaud, chairman of the trustees, John Vandore, said they needed volunteers to help maintain the park over the summer months.

The 63-year-old said: "What a lot of people do not realise is that the park tries to be a haven for both wildlife and for residents.

"There are lots of wild flowers growing there and we do not want to hack away plants that are growing.

"But of course there is a lot of maintenance which we still need to carry out."

Mr Vandore is hoping to recruit as many volunteers as possible to pitch in when needed, from litter picking to strimming and raking up leaves,

In the past scout and cub groups have lent a hand by raking up all the leaves.

He said: "The park cannot only be enjoyed by the community together but it can also be worked on together.

"I normally do my litter picking round on a Sunday morning and it is just beautiful.

"It is so quiet and it is only me and the birds - it really is a wonderful place to be.

"We need people to help us look after what we have got and if we can get a book full of names we can call on to help that would be brilliant."

Recently the community rallied together to help fix a vandalised bench in the park.

Mr Vandore said: "It had proved very popular with visitors to the Park, so it was especially sad to see it had been damaged and it really looked a sorry state."

The Betjeman Millennium Park was bought in 1997 by the Letcombe Brook Charitable Trust, to commemorate both the Millennium and Sir John.

It contains a poetry trail made up of inscribed stones featuring extracts from poems by Sir John who lived in the town from 1951 to 1972 with his wife Penelope and their children, Paul and Candida.

The 1.25-acre park is adjacent to the town’s Letcombe Brook, and is within walking distance of Wantage Market Place.

Mr Vandore added: "The community came together when the park was just a derelict patch of land because we did not want developers building on it.

"We managed to save the land and transform it into this wonderful community asset.

"We don't want that community spirit to go and we would really appreciate any help from the community to keep this park as beautiful as possible."

The Wantage (not just) Betjeman Literary Festival will be coming to the town on Saturday, October 22 for nine days.

For residents who wish to lend a hand, contact Mr Vandore on: 01235 760562

For more information on the park visit: