Parkrun organisers and runners condemn decision to charge for park usage

Via Get Surrey on 14 APR 2016 Author:  NATASHA SALMON

Council’s decision to charge labelled ‘shortsighted’ while Surrey and North East Hampshire Parkruns say they will remain free of charge .

04/10/2014. 10th anniversary Park Run at Stoke Park. Event founder & Organiser Linda Cairns

The decision by a Bristol parish council to charge a free fitness event to use their green space has been condemned by organisers of Parkrun in Surrey and north east Hampshire.

Runners of every ability are encouraged to take part in Parkrun’s 5km events which are held weekly and locally in CranleighFarnhamFrimleyAldershotWokingGuildford and Reigate.

The runs are organised by volunteers in green spaces and have had almost 933,000 runners take part in the last two years.

Volunteers will help set up and organize the Cranleigh parkrun and take a record of competitors times at the end

However Stoke Gifford Parish Council in Bristol went against the “founding principles” of Parkrun and decided to charge the Little Stoke event to use their park.

This will end that particular Parkrun from taking place and chief operating officer for Parkrun, Tom Williams, said: “Parkrun has had unprecedented success in engaging the least active and encouraging them to exercise regularly.

“Imposing a charge at one event is something that contradicts our founding principles and would set a precedent that threatens our future.”

“It is clear that a per-event or per-runner charge simply would not be sustainable and would threaten our free-to-participate ethos.

“By agreeing to a charge in relation to use of the land at Little Stoke Park we would be establishing a precedent that would put the future of parkrun at risk.”

One of the pilot runners crosses the finish line of the tested Cranleigh parkrun

Following the wide discussion surrounding the topic we approached the Parkruns in Surrey and North East Hampshire for their take on the topic.


The Cranleigh Parkrun is at Knowle Park and was started in October 2014 by local business owner Martin Bamford.

Mr Bamford said the organisers and parish council recognised the need for free events and therefore there’s would remain so.

“Forcing local parkrun groups to pay goes against the free to participate principle of parkrun events.

“I feel very sorry for all of the volunteers and runners at Little Gifford parkrun, who will have devoted countless hours to establishing and hosting this community event.

“It feels very short-sighted on the part of the parish council, at a time when the national faces a massive public health challenge around obesity and inactivity.

“Here at Cranleigh parkrun, we have an excellent relationship with our landowners, Cranleigh Parish Council and the Knowle Park Initiative, which both recognise the importance of the free-to-participate principle behind parkrun events.

“Since we started Cranleigh parkrun, we have hosted 81 free events with more than 3,800 runs covering 19,280km, from 1,040 different runners.

“We look forward to a long and happy future for Cranleigh parkrun, and welcome anyone who wants to join us on a Saturday morning for a free, timed 5km run around beautiful parkrun.”

Frimley Lodge Park Parkrun

Alice Holt Forest

The Alice Holt Park run, just outside Farnham, hope the Little Stoke Parkrun would only be cancelled temporarily and they would find another location.

Paula Patterson, event director at Alice Holt, said there is no risk of their event stopping any time soon.

“Parkrun will not pay to use the parks so if Surrey parks decided to do this then that would be the end of any Parkrun in that park.

“Alice Holt Parkrun takes place on Forestry Commission land and, as such, is not affected by any decision made by parish/town/borough/county councils.

“As far as we are aware there are no plans by the Forestry Commission to charge us to use the land we run on but if they did then we would have to cease or find an alternative venue.”

The Alice Holt parkrunners pay for their parking while they are at the site which supports the upkeep on the Hampshire forest.

Roger Nield
Runners taking part at the Rushmoor Parkrun


Run organiser at Rushmoor, Martin Sterio, said their were no future plans to charge for the event held at the army training ground in Farnborough.

Retired Runnymede neighbourhood inspector and MBE holder Roger Nield regularly takes part in the Rushmoor Parkrun, with his wife Lucy, and said the decision by Little Gifford Parish Council was “foolish”.

“We have been going for a year and half and there are some people who have made the most incredible improvements.

“It is great for people who want to get into running but like myself are not part of a running club.

“You can run or wobble and at Rushmoor we had 227 people last weekend of all ages. You can run with your dog or push your child in a pram, it doesn’t matter, it is for eveyone.

“This business in Somerset is a really churlish move and a bit foolish by this council, especially with how big parkrun is in the country and across the world.”

Mr Nield, who is about to start training for a marathon, said its also an opportunity for people to appreciate their green spaces too.

Liz Read and her fellow parkrunners last week at Frimley Lodge Park

Frimley Lodge

Organisers at Frimley Lodge parkrun would not comment on the news from Bristol however they reassured Get Surrey that there were no plans for charges to be introduced at their events.

Liz Read from Aldershot takes part in the Frimley Lodge event every week and thinks the actions of the parish council in Little Gifford are “disgusting”.

“Parkrun is a community event free to everyone and it encourages people to try and be active in a safe and friendly environment.

“on of the key beliefs of Parkrun is that it will always be free to all.

“I have done 58 Parkruns now and if Frimley had to stop it would ruin my Saturdays and I would miss the social side.”

The Frimley Lodge Parkrun on Halloween in 2015


Woking Borough Council confirmed there were no plans to charge Parkrun to use Woking Park, which many runners will be relieved to hear.

The organisers of the Woking Parkrun would not comment on the actions of Stoke Gifford council but a Parkrun spokesman said: “None of our other 850 worldwide events is under threat, and this is the first time in 12 years we’ve had a council suggest a charge.

“We have events on local authority managed land in addition to sites managed by the Forestry Commission, National trust, Woodland Trust, many runs are in country parks, nature reserves, on sandy beaches etc and our volunteers work closely with them through the set-up process and going forward to ensure the events work for everyone.”

Runners at the start of the 100th Guildford parkrun in Stoke Park, which has now been going for two years. More than 200 took part in this one, taking the total to around 13,000.


There are currently no plans to bring in charges at the Guildford Parkrun in Stoke Park.

The organisers could not comment on the events but reiterated Parkrun’s general statement that no charges would be brought to the event.

Graham Evans MP, and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Running, said: “Parkruns provide an invaluable way of utilising public spaces and getting the whole community involved – young and old – in physical activity, which we all know is massively important for our health and wellbeing.

“I am a huge fan of parkrun and regularly take part with my family – the children love it, and my wife and I love being out in the fresh air using our beautiful parks and countryside with them.

“I sincerely hope that a solution will be found to enable Little Stoke parkrun to continue.”


There are currently no plans to bring in charges at the Reigate Parkrun in Priory Park.

Parents urged to be vigilant after boys falls victim to online crime

This was discovered but the Surrey Res Net team – and shared here! Thank you too Surrey police

Surrey Police is urging parents to be vigilant and protect their children from falling victim to online crime, as officers investigate a report that a teenage boy was blackmailed by someone he was befriended by on the Internet.

The 15-year-old victim has alleged that he was befriended by a woman he met through an online game. She is alleged to have recorded him performing a sexual act and then threatened to pass the video to his family and friends if he did not pay her 500 euros.

PC Carina Jewell, who is investigating the allegation, said: “We have carried out extensive enquiries since this was reported to us at the end of December 2015 but unfortunately the woman has changed her name and photo so we have no way of tracing her. However, we do have concerns that she may have befriended other young people and threatened them in the same way and we would like to hear from anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a similar offence.

“We would also like to remind young people in particular to be careful online and never add people they don’t know. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have obviously become incredibly popular in recent years and most users are genuine, but because it is so easy to hide your real identity, it is possible to come into contact with people you would normally avoid.

“If you believe you have been a victim of any type of crime, please ensure you report it to us by calling 101 or use our online reporting form.”

Anyone using the Internet is urged to follow the advice below to ensure their online safety:

» Read more

Who to follow on Twitter in Surrey

It was great to have folk advise the SMPL team via social media  that our Roger had been recognised for his twitter feed in Surrey – especially as when he started on that journey a poll in the local paper suggested he should give it up! Here is the article:

Reblogged with grateful thanks from the Get Surrey feed.

19 JAN 2016 UPDATED 12:48, 19 JAN 2016 authored BY JAMES CHAPPLE

Unknown-1Twitter broke on Tuesday morning so everyone had to find another way to procrastinate.

Well, that at least was our excuse right here at Get Surrey HQ in Guildford.

The outage started to creep across the network from around 8.30am, with people experiencing difficulties accessing the main Twitter site, Tweetdeck and mobile services.

The Down Detector website saw a spike of more than 2,500 reports of issues with Twitter connectivity at around 8.30am on Tuesday morning. Blimey!

By midday, the social networking site seemed back up and running – albeit with a few glitches – to the relief of millions of tweeters.

We’d already prepared seven Surrey Twitter accounts we really think you should follow. Here’s the list:

1. @SurreyRoadCops
Surrey Police’s Roads Policing Unit do a fantastic job making their round-the-clock work policing of the county highways network and motorways accessible.

They share pictures and information from major incidents across the county, from serious accidents likely to cause major delays to animals invading the road.

Their presence on Twitter helps defuse sometimes tense or frustrating situations for motorists by providing honest, up-to-date information – and explaining why the police had to act as they did in certain circumstances.

2. @RGSWeather
This is the Twitter account of Reigate Grammar School’s weather station. It provides a fascinating insight into local weather patterns, and takes a more in-depth look at professional forecasting, all tailored to the east Surrey area.

It also is a good source of information, updates and images during major weather events, such as the flooding we saw last year.

3. @BadSouthernRail
We all get frustrated when our commute doesn’t go to plan. So when you’re stuck on a train somewhere near Redhill, have a butcher’s at Bad Southern Rail and imagine what it would be like if a cat, or a dinosaur, or a hippopotamus was, in fact, running Southern Rail.

It might just make you a tad more sympathetic in the circumstances, although I’m not sure we can hold out for any miracles.

(n.b. you can follow the actual Southern Rail account via @SouthernRailUK, which is pretty helpful and is updated very frequently, as is the amazing @SouthernMalachi account).

4. @SurreyFRS
Like the road cops, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s official Twitter account is a vital source of honest, up-to-date information about ongoing incidents involving the county’s firefighters.

It provides images and context during the initial, often uncertain stages of a major fire – and does its bit in the community, as we saw just last week when the team at Woking fire station bought a new toy fire engine for a young boy after they had to cut his old one off his finger!

5. @Firesnapper999
An ex-firefighter who now spends time helping build the profile of particularly Hampshire firefighters on the Surrey-Hants border.

Often working in tandem with the guys at Rushmoor fire station in Farnborough (@Rushmoor02), Firesnapper’s tweets will give you a really helpful insight into the day-to-day (and night-to-night) work of the fire service.

6. @rogernield2703
Mr Nield is a former Runnymede neighbourhood police inspector, who was appointed MBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours for his services to raising IMG_4442-1awareness of policing through social media, specifically Twitter.

He said: “It’s about people in the community and people coming together to try and drive crime and antisocial behaviour out.

“Using social media helps reach a group of people you would never normally be able to speak to.

7. @GetSurrey
Sorry, but we’re a shameless bunch here. If you’re not already following us via @GetSurrey, do hit that blue follow button.

We aim to bring you all the latest breaking news, traffic and travel from across Surrey every day through our #SurreyLive blog – and as much more on top of that as we can.

And you’ll find it all on our Twitter feed, which runs from 6.30am to 11.30pm every day.


We’re not too bad a bunch.

Run, Hide, Tell

With thanks to the National Police Chiefs’ Council NPCC for this advice:

In the UK the Police Service and partners work very hard to keep us safe from the threat of guncrime. Firearms and weapons attacks are thankfully extremely rare, but we must always know to do stay safe. What would you do if you came under fire or heard gunshots at work or in public? Should you stay and hide, or run for the nearest exit? Would you know what to do to stay safe?

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