The generous donations to my Sponsored Walk, from almost all of the committee, and from so many members of the public, has meant a great deal to me and my fellow officers. The latest donation given by Merlins Bridge AFC has pushed the total raised to over £1,700.
Such generosity, along with the numerous letters of support, requires more than an expression of thanks. It deserves an explanation of how the money is spent. But before I present that explanation may I give you the assurance that every penny received goes towards the upkeep of our wonderful Park and not a penny goes towards administration.
Over the last few years we have lost the financial support of Pembrokeshire County Council and the Bridge Meadow Trust. This has left a £5,200 hole in our income stream, leaving us more and more reliant on the generosity of members of the public.
Last year was a particularly expensive one as we had to contend with deteriorating seats and the problems experienced with an ageing tractor. We have improved the seating on the Racecourse by repairing a certain number and purchasing others. This has brought appreciative comments from a large number of people, especially our elderly users.
The main thrust of our work is the sixteen cuts of over 60 acres of grass. This cannot be done without a tractor. The repairs and fuel cost nearly £3,500 so I hope for a trouble free season this year. With a certain amount of hedge trimming added, the grass maintenance cost £5,000. I think everyone would agree that Mr David James is doing a marvellous job and has helped enormously to deliver a park that contributes massively to the enjoyment and mental well-being of the very many users of our facilities. It is reckoned that use of the Racecourse has quadrupled since the onset of Covid 19.
It was time for the miles of hedges and ditches to be brought up to standard and this set us back nearly £2,500. Add to this such items as gate repairs and the cost of new waste bins and you will understand that we have had to eat into our very slender reserves.
The land was given to the Town Council in 1838 to ensure that it is used for the recreation and leisure of the neighbouring population at its free will and pleasure. I hope that you will all agree that we are truly helping the Town Council achieve its obligation.