'An honour to serve Hampstead Heath for the past two years'

Hampstead Heath in November 2020

Hampstead Heath in November 2020 - Credit: André Langlois

Sadly this is my last column as chair of the Hampstead Heath Management Committee following my decision to stand down in the upcoming elections.  

I became chair in May 2020, which due to Covid-19, was an unusual, difficult and challenging time for us all.

I was hugely impressed by the staff and volunteer response to the ever-changing restrictions and huge increase in visitors to the Heath during the various lockdowns. Everyone went above and beyond their normal duties and worked tirelessly to ensure the Heath remained a wonderful place to visit. 

Throughout the pandemic the importance of the Heath in supporting the physical and mental health of many thousands of Londoners cannot be understated.  

Anne Fairweather says the Health has provided a lifeline for some people during lockdown.

Anne Fairweather became chair of Hampstead Heath Management Committee in May 2019 - Credit: Archant

I fell in love with the Heath as a child as my great-aunt lived nearby so visits to the Ponds and the playgrounds are cherished memories of my childhood. It was a real thrill to be able to reopen the adventure playground last year following the improvement works. From rich wildlife and extensive learning, play and recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, walking and team sports, the Heath is a much-loved space.  

I was delighted to be able to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Hampstead Heath Act in 2021 with some wonderful events, including a kite flying festival and an outdoor cinema. These events were so popular that I’m happy to hear they will be returning this year too along with many other well-loved events. The events calendar has already kicked off with the English National Cross Country which took place at the end of last month. It was such a fantastic day enjoyed by over 8,000 competitors and thousands of spectators. It was wonderful to see so many young people taking part in a sport which undoubtedly does so much good for health and wellbeing.  

I'd like to thank everyone who has supported me during my time as chair, and who has contributed to making the Heath the amazing green space it is today. If you would like to donate to the Heath Charity there are three appeals currently live. More information can be found here: cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/green-spaces/hampstead-heath/donate-to-hampstead-heath 

It has been such an honour to serve Hampstead Heath for the past two years and I will definitely be returning regularly to enjoy the breath-taking views and to the Ponds for a revitalising swim. 

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Anne Fairweather is chair of the City of London Corporation’s Hampstead Heath Management Committee.