News & Views

Pumpkin Parade – Saturday 27 October 2018

October saw the return of Spencer Park’s Pumpkin Parade event. It was really cold in the park, but fortunately, the rain stopped and we had a very good turnout. The Hallowe’en cakes and pumpkin soup were very popular and the children enjoyed the bat hunt around the park and the craft activities inside the pavilion before the prizes were awarded for the best five pumpkins and Halloween costumes. It was very hard to choose as so much effort had gone into the entries. Everyone got a sticker for participating and lots of sweets were consumed! We had a lot of positive feedback from those who attended.  Someone commented on the spooky atmosphere. Others felt that the event had a real community feel to it.  Many thanks to everyone who helped on the day and with the preparation.

Fun Dog Show – August 2018

After a summer of blistering heat, yet another of our summer events was threatened with cancellation due to rain. However, the forecast rain never really amounted to much and the event was able to proceed, albeit without the sunshine we had all become accustomed to in 2018. 

Our first Fun Dog Show attracted a significant number of dog owners and non-dog owners alike … and of course, an array of dogs of all shapes and sizes, plus the cooler temperatures were great for the dogs who would have suffered if we had had the high temperatures of recent weeks.

There were seven rosettes and goodie bags given out in our dog show categories and an eighth prize and commemorative mug awarded to the one thought to be ‘Best in Show’. The show was skilfully judged by our local dog experts, Laura Noble and Carolyn Alcock who did a great job. Thanks!

Thanks also go to our sponsors: Pets at Home (Canley) who contributed to the contents of the goodie bags, John Taylor’s for the discount they gave us on the hot dog sausages and to Misty Flip for organising one of our fundraising games.

The dog show winners

The winners of each of the dog show categories are as follows (accompanied by their proud owners):

Best Male Dog
Stanley, Pointer-Lurcher Cross

Best female Dog
Lola, Cockerpoo

Best Puppy* and Best Pair
Juno* and Frankie,  Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Best Rescue Dog
Abbie, English Pointer

Judges’ Choice
Jeremy Corbyn, Dachshund-Yorkie Cross

Best Senior Dog … and BEST IN SHOW
Rufus, Parsons Russell Terrier

We also held a fastest recall competition. This was won by a very enthusiastic wire-haired visla called Rufus (and his ‘pushy mom’, Cathy Scholes).

Cathy, from Misty Flip Hair Salon in Albany Road, also hosted a “Guess the Number of Biscuits in the Jar” game, for which she kindly donated the prizes. Cathy raised £60 for Friends of Spencer Park, so well done and thank you to Cathy! The winner, who guessed the right number, was Debbie (and her dog, Maisie).

A number of stall-holders also attended the event. This was the first time we had invited other charities, traders and crafters to one of our events, but it may be something we do more regularly in future as it proved very popular.

The featured stalls were:

  • Dog’s Trust, Kenilworth – rehoming and dog rescue centre
  • Sew Darn Happy – Handmade bags, dresses, cushions, bunting and more
  • Refab – Up-cycled clothing
  • Glitter Gals – Glitter tattoos, handmade items made from felt and wool, plus pocket money items for children
  • Zara’s Pet Sitting – Earlsdon-based pet sitting service
  • Abercrombie-McColl – Crafters in paper, metal and wood
  • Mutt Mitts – Ultra-absorbent dog towels

In addition, there was also our usual cake stall, a hot dog stand and tombola.

All in all, a successful day and a great community event. Definitely something to repeat next year!

Resurfacing the old tennis courts

Work to resurface the old tennis courts, repair the concrete walls and erect handrails where necessary is complete. Funds for playground markings were provided by Coventry City Council and Tesco. Lots of people contributed ideas about what these markings should look like and as many of these as possible have been incorporated.

Tennis courts now open

You will need to renew your membership for 2018 if you have not already done.  The costs remains the same as last year (£25 per family).  To renew your membership and to book courts during the open season, click on the ‘Tennis’ tab under the ‘Events’ tab, or click here.

The effects of austerity on parks

Paul Smith, chair of the Organising Committee for the Friends of Spencer Park, contacted The Guardian newspaper about the impact of austerity measures on our parks and their amenities.  Read the letter he wrote:

The Council is having to make a lot of cuts to local services due to their reduced funding from central government.  Our parks are one of the areas most threatened.  In Spencer Park the flower beds will be grassed over.  It is likely that the flat bowling green will not be maintained.  There may be no staffing in the park in the Spring and Summer months which will impact on tennis provision.The pavilion is threatened with closure.

Friends of Spencer Park have obtained funding for the children’s playground which will be installed in the late Spring.  We have also improved the west border and planted bulbs in the park and the Recreation Area.  We would like to see the further development of tennis and bowls activities in the park which will be facilitated by the proposed changes to parking by the park.  We will also be seeking funding for a multi-use games area on the recreation area.

The Council would like to devolve management responsibility for parks (and libraries) to community groups.  We are not sure this is a role we could or should take on.

Could you please follow the link to the Council’s budget consultation, watch the video and fill in the online survey.

Click on this link and watch the video.  Do get in touch with the Council about these proposals via the online survey – they could have a very detrimental impact upon all of Coventry’s parks, but particularly the smaller parks such as Spencer Park.

Petition on withdrawal of services from Spencer park

Friends of Spencer Park have drawn up the following petition in view of the threatened cuts to services at Spencer Park. It appears likely that the park will lose both the tennis courts and the bowling greens and the pavilion will not be staffed at all so there will be no toilet facilities.
The petition is available online  via  Please sign it if you want to preserve the facilities at the park.The deadline will be the end of March. It states:


At a time when the number of people using Spencer Park is increasing, the City Council is planning to close its unique historic Pavilion which celebrates its centenary this August. If unused, it will be a prime target for vandalism. The flat bowling green will also be closed and the tennis courts will not be open to the general public.  

We, the undersigned, call on the City Council to keep the Pavilion open for at least part of each week in the 2015 season and to re-open the tennis courts and the flat green.

Paul Smith: Chair of Friends of Spencer Park, writing in a personal capacity, has prepared this Statement on Cuts.

Petition against cuts

We have gathered well over 1500 signatures on the petition against the cuts to Spencer Park services. We were unable to present the petition to the Council as they cancelled their meeting.  We are therefore continuing to collect more signatures and will be expending the deadline for the online petitions. We hope to present the petition after the Election.

Meanwhile, it would be useful if as many people as possible contacted their MPs, councillors and Election candidates pointing out the threats to the park and asking for their views.  As we were collecting signatures we found that a lot of people had no idea about the threats to the park. Already the flat green has been closed and the bowlers asked to transfer to the Memorial Park.  The pavilion will not open at Easter and will not be staffed so the tennis courts cannot be hired and the crown green bowlers have no access to their equipment.  We are very concerned about the potential for an increase in anti social behaviour in the park. Without staffing a lot of damage could be done to the park and the pavilion undermining all the recent work to make the park a pleasant safe hub of the community.  When the children’s playground is installed there will be no toilet facilities during the summer.

Letters should emphasise the importance of the park in the community, the importance of the pavilion as an attractive
local building, the improvements made to the park by the Friends Group and the regular family events during the summer.

Members of the Friends Group will raise the future of the park at the hustings so please feel free to contribute to the debate. We do not want the park to deteriorate.

In the end, a total of an amazing 3147 signatures was handed in to the Council.

Consultation on changes to the amenities in the park

The Friends of Spencer Park want to ensure that any plans that are made for changes to the amenities in the Park and Recreation Ground are open to consultation.  On this page you can view the Consultation Strategy , designed to ensure that the views of all who have an interest in any proposed developments are taken into account.

We conducted a survey to seek your views on the development of recreational facilities in both parks.  The survey report is available here (PDF 0.3 MB).  If you want to look at the questionnaire, click on survey (PDF 0.4MB).

Prize draw
Participants in the survey were entered into a prize draw.  Dawn Pattison won the prize which was presented to her in Spencer Park by Paul Smith, the Chair of the Friends of Spencer Park.


Click here (PDF 2 MB) for an aerial view of the park.  You will see the area which we would like to develop into a children’s recreation ground.

These photos (PDF 4 MB) show the area we would like to develop in more details.

Further information was on display at our stall at the Earlsdon Festival on May 6th, and will be available at events taking place at Spencer Park during the summer.  (See Events)

We have received ideas from suppliers of play equipment and put their posters on display at the Earlsdon Festival (see below).

Stall at Earlsdon Festival plan 1

Stall at Earlsdon Festival plan 2


Friends of Spencer Park – Registered Charity No.1176323