The 2016 AGM of the Friends of Dagnam Park was held at My Place, Dagnam Park Drive

on Wednesday 17th  February.

Minutes of the Friends of Dagnam Park AGM 17-2-16

The meeting was addressed by PC Clayden (left) from Havering Parks Constabulary.  He spoke about his duties and handed out contact cards.  He then answered questions from members.

Alan and Don gave a report to the meeting about the progress of the dig to uncover the stable area.  They showed photos of the work and items that were found on the site (see Secretary’s report for more detail).

The minutes of the 2015 AGM (circulated) were agreed. 

Apologies for absence were received from Denis O’Flynn and Cllr. Johnson.

Election of Officers – The current Officers were re-elected unopposed i.e. Chair – Don Tait, Secretary – Alan York, Treasurer – Susan Cook and Minute Secretary – Katie Cook. The new post of Youth Secretary was filled by Don Tait.

Treasurer’s report – The Treasurer’s accounts were submitted to the meeting and agreed (copy below).

Chair’s report – The Chair reported in detail on the activities of the Friends of Dagnam Park (copy below).

Secretary’s report – The Secretary reported in detail on the activities of the Friends of Dagnam Park (copy below).

Matters arising (a) Possibility of having rose bushes planted in The Manor was discussed (see Sec.’s report) (b) Tom Fadd reported on the deer situation and distributed a leaflet giving details of various types of deer to be found in England, some of which are in the park.  This provoked considerable discussion about the welfare of the deer. It was stated that there are in the region of 300 deer in the park and there is to be a survey to check on this and to see if The Manor is able to sustain this level. Exclusion areas are to be set up to investigate the  impact of the deer on the trees, plants and vegetation. Tom also pointed out that squirrels can have an effect. He then passed around pictures of the new signs. (c) Parking problems were raised, with the suggestion that the old tennis courts could be used for parking.  This was discounted on cost grounds. (d) Fishing Club raised concerns about logs left by the Council being dumped in the ponds. (e) Proposed clean-up of Painesbrook was reported. (f) A Forest School is set to run for a short spell in the parkland.

The meeting closed at 9 p.m.

Chairman’s report

It seems as though it was only yesterday that I welcomed everyone to the last AGM however in between then and now the committee and group have moved on with meetings with Havering Parks Department, Havering Heritage, guided walk & talks in the parkland and having a representative at the Havering Parks Forum as well as at the Safer Neigbourhood Police and Community meetings for the Gooshays Ward.

These meetings are usually well attended by others from different organisations and it gives the FODP some much needed publicity in the way that others knowing of our existence. From such meetings the word gets out there to people that may not have heard of the parkland before and who then visit it shortly afterwards and are somewhat taken aback as to not only  its size but also what there is to see.

There is also the opportunity for members of the general public to see and to be informed about the wildlife at The Manor at some of these meetings as in this past year a talk was held at Hilldene Library in June on the subject which was then followed up with some guided walks by some of those that had attended and in July a group of children from Pyrgo-Priory School spent a few hours being taken around parts of the parkland where they had a combined nature and history talk. Unfortunately not everyone will use the park as it is intended and yet again there was an illegal party/rave/get together (call it what you want) held in the centre of the park not far from the car park. This activity left the area that it was held in littered with beer bottles and cans as well as other rubbish and it was a couple of hours before the rubbish had been picked up completely and taken off site once members of the FODP were made aware of the situation.

Throughout the past year the FODP have worked to clear the parkland of rubbish that has been deposited by those that feel that it is the normal thing to do and in the process of clearing the rubbish we, as a group have collected 62 black sacks (not including the two large builders bags that are usually lifted off of lorries with sand etc in that were filled up with rubbish after the above mentioned illegal party) of litter along with various other items. We have also worked with the parks department with having closed in litter bins installed in points around the main pathways and this has resulted in a reduction of litter deposited on the ground in those areas. It is hoped that over time more of these bins will be placed within the park to help reduce it even more.

In mid July the park was visited by one of the judges of the London in Bloom competition and accompanied by myself, Dennis Cook and Tom Fradd from Havering Park’s Department he saw what the parkland has to offer to those that use it. Because of the size of the park and also time restraints we were unable to show him all of the park but he was taken around the Green Lake, Perch Pond, the Lily Pond, stable area and towards Noak Hill. During the course of the walk matters were discussed in relation to large parks in general and the  management of them and what a parkland such as The Manor can offer and it was interesting to gain outside views on this point which has been fed back to other members of the FODP. The result of the competition came in in late September and we were pleased to find that the parkland had been awarded a Silver Gilt. Disappointingly this was a drop from the Gold Award that was given to the parkland last year but it was only a few points in it when the total marking was added up that caused the drop in the award given. However seeing that this was only the second year that the parkland has been put forward for the London in Bloom Competition and that we have had a Gold and a Silver Gilt in succession means a lot to the FODP members as it is recognition for all the work that we have put in over the years.

In late November FODP members took on their biggest and more lengthier project of clearing the stable block of the detritus which has built up over many years and this will and does tie in with another long term goal of placing signage around the park to inform members of the public of the past history and of what can be seen in the parkland today. This is just one project that the committee members are striving for and with the help and support from members it is hoped that even more can be achieved over the coming year.

Because of the work that we as a group have undertaken in the last ten years the parkland is now a place where members of the public enjoy visiting, and visit they do as it is a quiet day now when you see no one at all in the park. From dog walkers to  those that run, jog or speed walk to try to keep fit, bird watchers, photographers, anglers, football players or even those that find an area for quiet contemplation the park has become a place to go too to get away from the hustle and bustle of  life on the estate. Hopefully we as a group can continue to work on the betterment of the parkland for those people that use it and draw on what we have learnt to implement any of the forthcoming work in the future.

Don Tait

Secretary’s report

Another busy year in the Manor has passed all too quickly again.
2015 saw us with a record twelve litter picks. I often think if we didn’t remove this rubbish just how awful the nature reserve would look.
Our biggest and most adventurous project is of course the archaeology dig. As you can see from the items I have brought along. Yes it may be just a few bricks and small items such the musket ball and WW2 label, but this shows that we are responsible for looking after our countries great heritage and passing this information on to future generations.
All those years viewing Tony Robinson in Time Team have paid off. We knew how to approach the stable block site with regard to labelling and measuring items as they appeared. For example the buildings didn’t of course have any plastics so the damp course was slate. The floor interior was laid with herringbone brick blocks. We also found evidence of large ceramic wall tiling. He stable court yard has a foundation of large flint stones, with concrete poured over and then shaped with a former to create the block pattern. Most of the Time Team buildings excavated could only be estimated how they were when erected; we however are blessed with numerous photographs and first hand descriptions. Many walkers passing by ask what we are doing and Don comes into his own using his first rate communication skills and knowledge to inform them. Even those who are old enough to remember the Manor before it was demolished was surprised how much still remains.
We have plans to uncover some of the rose garden paths and if possible plant a few rose plants to remind walkers, all be it in a small way, how it looked in its glory days. A pink rose named after the last lady of the manor Dorina Neave is no longer available but as I’m a member of the RHS we can purchase a near match. A big thank you to LBH Tom Fradd for bringing his mechanical digger to remove the heavy duty detritus, it saved us weeks of digging. Do join us if possible for our future digs as we have much more to do. Next dig date will be on Saturday 20th February 2016. If you are not receiving my broadcast emails do see me after the meeting.
With help of LBH Parks Tom Fradd and the Violia Trust Fund we hopefully at last will have signage displaying the history and wildlife of the Manor by the stable block and elsewhere in the reserve. It will cost us £500 but if we get official Friends status during 2016 from LBH this cost will be more than covered.
When the dig is finally complete I shall write a full and in depth report for our web site.
Because of all I have just mentioned we should once again be awarded gold in the 2016 London in Bloom competition.
Finally I must thank our founder of the Friends group Del Smith now living in Scotland for building and updating our marvellous web site. It is so easy to direct people interested in what we do and our aims to the all complete internet site.

Alan York

Friends of Dagnam Park Annual Accounts
18th February 2015 to 15th February 2016


Balance on the 18th of February 2015               £794.51


Renewal of domain name


Hire of Myplace







Donation from Del





Balance on the 15th of February 2016               £817.52


These accounts have been examined by Frank Tapley.