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Handover statement from our new Chair

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The QPF handover


After many years of neglect, the need to significantly improve one of Kingston’s major attractions,
the one-mile-long Queen’s Promenade along the Thames, stirred local resident Julian Meers to set
up a volunteers’ community group. Initially aimed at litter picking, it quickly led to uncovering and
re-building the old caretaker’s hut and creating a pocket park for the use of all volunteers and the
general public. Four years later, with a pandemic to juggle as well, what has been achieved along
that scenic stretch between Surbiton and Kingston goes beyond the wildest dreams of those early
days. As a group, we have been tirelessly weeding, pruning, and planting, thereby creating much
improved sections such as the River View Garden, the Figgy Garden, and several of the entrances to the promenade. Current projects involve the creation of an Italian Garden opposite St Raphael’s Church and hopefully next year a sensory garden, in coordination with the Kingston Association for the
Blind.

Our work is carried out with specific attention to the preservation of wildlife habitat and the
enhancement of biodiversity. It is testament of Julian’s vision, energy, tenacity, and good humour, to build this group and keep it going. In equal measure, it is proof of the group’s strength, wide-ranging skills, and dedication, to keep coming back, twice a week, come rain or shine.

After four years, Julian has decided to step down as Chair. I am grateful that the group has
confidence in me now taking us further, and I take my election as Chair as everyone’s ongoing
support for our work on the Queen’s Promenade. Whilst I am happy to take the helm, our collective
success will continue to depend on our volunteers’ good intentions, spirit, camaraderie, and elbow
grease, as it will on the strong support of Kingston Council and other external stakeholders. After all,
an improved green outdoor space will promote health and well-being of all residents. I am confident
and excited that we all will continue to enjoy our time together for the benefit of the wider
community and the greater good of that very special Kingston asset: the Queen’s Promenade.

Stefan Gross, Chair

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