At a public meeting of local residents in late 1946 it was decided to raise funds to buy the 9.8 acre field as a living memorial to those who had died in the two World Wars. The money was raised by public subscription and by holding various attractions. In 1948 H.R.H The Princess Elizabeth, who was then living at Windlesham Moor, consented to become a patron and sent a donation. The final meeting of the Windlesham War Memorial and Thanksgiving Fund was held in March 1950 and the name Field of Remembrance was formally adopted.
The Field of Remembrance was officially opened on 2nd September 1950.
In 1987 the charity acquired the adjacent 7 acres of woodland now known as Admiral’s Field and the Field that we all know and love today was created.
The land is held in trust “as an open space and place of rest recreation and entertainment for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Ecclesiastical Parish of Windlesham”.
Since its inception the Field has been managed by a volunteer committee made up of representatives of local groups and organisations. Apart from a small grant from the Parish Council (reduced in recent years, although they do arrange the emptying of the dog bins), the Charity is entirely reliant upon public donations, fund raising events, fees from the local clubs who use the field and other hiring of the facilities. Every September a house to house collection is carried out around the village by a team of volunteers.
The Field is the home of Windlesham United football clubs (adult and youth) and Windlesham Cricket Club. Over the years the Field has hosted countless football and cricket matches and come rain or shine the annual village Fete is held on the field and in recent years the Bonfire & Firework event has proved popular and raised essential funds.
Over the years the field has seen many other events, the pancake race, Windle Valley Runners events and Carry on Camping to name but a few and recently even a “Bollywood” style film shoot. The field is enjoyed by families and dog walkers on a daily basis and really deserves the description of “Heart of the Village”.
There has been a playground at the School Lane end of the field for many years. In 2007 the area was rebuilt as a result of an enthusiastic group of parents raising funds from events and sponsorship from local businesses. The play area that is enjoyed by so many children today is, we understand, the only playground in Surrey that is looked after by public donation and volunteers, rather than by the local authority.
The first timber Pavilion was donated by Mr Edward Lumley and transported from Windlesham Moor in 1953, along with the cricket hut which is still standing. The current brick Pavilion was built in 1960. There have been plans to redevelop the pavilion for many years and in 2015 planning permission was granted, subject to certain conditions, for a pavilion incorporating sports changing rooms, a kitchen, coffee shop/ meeting area and hall. Some people have questioned why the new building includes a hall and is not solely for sports use. The new building needs to be able to generate funds to ensure the building and facilities can be maintained in the future. The cost of maintaining a sports pavilion alone would be too much for the village clubs and the management committee to cover.
A building that can accommodate other non-sport users would also be of benefit to a wider group of the community.
In years past the pavilion has been used by a pre-school, the local Cub pack and was available for hire for parties and meetings. On Sunday afternoons during the summer months between 1981 and 1991 “Teas on the Field” were served by a group of volunteers. Initially the teas were a fund raising exercise but they quickly became a regular social event.
Because of the reliance on donations the management committee has to prioritise maintenance and, for example, work in the woods is limited to essential health & safety work. There has been some criticism of the “state” of the woods with piles of cut timber lying about – it costs as much again to have the timber removed as it does to have a dangerous tree felled. Over the last two years we have been grateful to Eli Lily for sending in their grounds team for a day to tidy up (and turn these piles into wildlife habitats).
The Committee are also grateful to other local businesses for their continued support. Wooldridge Group have always been generous in their support; they recently installed the car park barrier free of charge. We are also grateful to Foramaflow who carry out the grounds maintenance and undertake far more work than they charge us for. If it were not for the generosity of these local businesses far less work would be carried out on the field.
All the residents of Windlesham “own” the Field of Remembrance and over the years countless local residents have given their time and effort to preserve the Field.
With the continued support and generosity of the Community, and the dedication and hard work of future management committees, the Field of Remembrance can continue to be a place of “rest, recreation and entertainment” and to be a living memorial to those of the parish who died in the two World Wars, for generations to come.
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