'Fundraising for Hampstead Heath wildlife sanctuary and play area'

Hampstead Heath will be hosting a Christmas Fayre from Saturday, December 27 to January 2 2022

Hampstead Heath's Christmas Fayre is running until January 2, 2022 - Credit: PA

As 2021 draws to an end, we can reflect on a year which brought challenges due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic but also joy as we celebrated the 150th anniversary of Hampstead Heath being saved as public open space.

A series of events have taken place to mark this anniversary including a kite flying event, a Community Festival, musical performances, and a film festival.

The pandemic certainly made us realise, even more than we did already, just how important access to places like the Heath and the other wonderful green spaces of London are. Last winter we saw a surge in visitor numbers as London and then the rest of the country was in lockdown. The green space is still extremely busy as people recognise the physical and mental benefits a visit to the Heath can bring.

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

2201 brought joy to Anne Fairweather as the Heath celebrated its 150th Anniversary - Credit: Archant

The Heath is a registered charity which receives the majority of its funding from the City of London Corporation. Additional proceeds raised from sporting activities, such as swimming and tennis, events and filming are all invested back into maintaining and conserving the Heath for everyone to enjoy. There are several projects that we are currently fundraising for: mammal and wildlife shelters, removal of causeway so the Model Boating Island can become a wildlife sanctuary and plans to upgrade and improve the playground on the Heath Extension. Donations can be made online (visit cityoflondon.gov.uk/hampsteadheath) and would make a lovely, sustainable Christmas gift for a loved one. Every penny donated is ring-fenced for the project you choose to donate to and all amounts are very much appreciated.

In January we are looking forward to welcoming new the superintendent, Stephania Horne. Stephania will be the Heath’s first female superintendent and most recently has been head of Parks and Leisure at the London Borough of Hounslow. She has a wealth of experience in areas such as conservation and ecology which will stand her in good stead for her new job.  A big thanks to Richard Gentry, who has been acting up to the Superintendent role since September.

I wish you all a happy and safe festive season – hopefully you can fit in a visit to Hampstead Heath’s first Christmas Fayre taking place on East Heath up until January 2, 2022 for some festive food and drink along with a children’s fairground rides . We hope this family-focused event will be a great way to get into the Christmas spirit and enjoy the festivities with family and friends.

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