History of Walkington Playing Fields

Cricket was played on the field for many years before the Second World War, but it was in 1953 that the land was bought for £200 from Wilson Filmer and the Playing Fields Association was formed.

The original committee is a roll call of the good and the great from that era: Beth Taylor, the chairman, Ernie Teal, Ted Lear, Ron Bradford, Dick Grantham, Cliff Cooper, Dolly Dickinson, Bill Taylor, Mike Scrowson, Dave Whitty.

The first fundraising barbecue was held in 1960 and it raised the grand sum of £400. In 1962 a 14 year old Ann Taylor suggested getting a celebrity for the barbecue, and at that time the biggest celeb was Coronation Street’s Elsie Tanner, played by Pat Phoenix. Ernie Teal wrote to the programme and was astonished to get a phone call from Pat Phoenix’s manager – “Elsie Tanner” would be delighted to help. Amazingly Pat Phoenix wouldn’t take a penny, there was no appearance fee. Her only stipulation was to be picked up from the studios in a Rolls Royce. This, of course, was arranged and Alan Collingwood was the proud chauffeur.

There were over 5,000 people waiting impatiently at the Playing Fields, shouting “We want Elsie!” and when the Rolls turned up it was almost impossible for it to get through the tenfoot (which in those days was a couple of feet narrower). But the car did get in, and “Elsie” delighted the crowds by presenting the medals and cups to the Tug of War winners.

Pat Phoenix came to the village four years in a row, and it is thanks to her and the committee and helpers at that time that we have the tennis courts, the pavilion and the playground.

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