Historic Merseyside park to be refurbished after family’s £850k donation

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The donation could make improvements to a sensory garden as well as key heritage features.

A historic park in Southport is set to be refurbished after a “generous” donation.

Sefton Council has announced that Hesketh Park has been bequeathed £850k by neighbours of the park and long-term supporters, Louis and Anita Marks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The bequest to Hesketh Park, Southport, from the trustees of the Marks Family Trust could be used on a full refurbishment of the conservatory, improvements to a sensory garden at the 12 hectare site and the refurbishment of key heritage features including a fountain, waterfall and floral clock.

The donation could also be used to appoint two full-time gardeners to work on the Victorian-era park for the next two years, with plans for planting new trees and plants.

Deafblind UK CEO Nikki Morris said she was “absolutely delighted” that plans for the park included improvements that mean it will “once again became an safe and accessible haven for local people who have sight and hearing loss.

Trustee of the Marks family trust, Barry Samuels said he remembered the “magic” of the park as a young boy, stating the bequest was a “fitting memorial” to the family. He said the bequest will enable works that “can assist to reinstate the beauty of Hesketh Park for the public to enjoy hopefully for many years to come.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Council reaction: The council said its Green Sefton Team has been working closely with the Marks family trustees and the park’s heritage group to formulate the plans, with hopes it could improve the overal rating of the park.

Cabinet member for health and wellbeing Cllr Ian Moncur spoke of Louisa and Anita Marks’ generosity, stating, “Thanks to the generosity of Louis and Anita Marks’ bequest, we are now going to be able to undertake wholesale improvements at Hesketh Park and do the kinds of things people have told us they want to see, like completing the refurbishment of the conservatory and employing dedicated staff to work on-site.

“I am pleased to see that among the planned work is a proposal to create a memorial and acknowledgement of Louis and Anita Marks’ generous bequest.”

Co-chair of the Heseketh Park Heritage Group said: “The Hesketh Park Heritage Group continues to work with Sefton MBC and all voluntary groups within Hesketh Park to ensure this treasured space will be available for the benefit of local residents, visitors to Southport and future generations.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are pleased to have been consulted and involved in the critical discussions which have led to this generous legacy coming to Hesketh Park. We see our ongoing role to ensure that the money is spent wisely and in a timely manner to enhance and maintain the Park for the future.”

Restoration: The first phase of the restoration of the conservatory was completed in 2021 with a £22k grant from the government’s culture recovery fund. A contractor will be appointed to manage and operate the conservatory once the full refurbishment has been completed.

The donation and plans for the park will be discussed next Thursday, May 25 at a meeting of Sefton Council’s cabinet.

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.