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Parade Ground Damage

Parade Ground Damage

Parade Ground post World Cannabis Day

Thursday 21st April was the day to celebrate the Queen’s 90th Birthday, with a 41 gun salute in Hyde Park at noon.

The Park was looking pristine in the days beforehand. The acres of turf on the Parade Ground had taken well and repaired the ravages of the aftermath of Winter Wonderland. This area had re-opened to the public around Easter and congratulations are due to the Hyde Park Manager, Rob Dowling, and his team for managing this transformation so well.

Disaster struck the day before. Who knew that the 20th April (420) was so called “World Cannabis Day”. No formal publicity was needed, nor permission sought. Through social media the word spread and hundreds of people started gathering, around noon on the 20th on the immaculate green sward of the Parade Ground.

By 4.20 pm, which was the time the “organisers” wanted everybody all over the world to light up a joint, there were thousands in the Park all smoking cannabis under the noses of the Police. Extra police were drafted in from all over Westminster as the Royal Parks Police couldn’t cope.

Parade Ground with staff at dawn
Parade Ground with Staff at dawn

There were thousands still lying around at 7 pm and with the 41 gun salute due to take place the next day, things were looking bad.

The police started clearing the bodies out and by 9 pm they had all gone. BUT the litter and rubbish left behind was horrendous.

Staff who were around did their best clearing up before it got totally dark, and at 6 am the following morning every single member of staff from Hyde Park, and many from Kensington Gardens, turned up to help.

Every gardener, contractor, regular litter picker, and manager set to and the area was cleared by 10 am, as the crowds turned up to witness the military display.

And all clear – the crows are back in place
And all clear – the crows are back in place

Congratulations and thanks from the whole of London for putting right, in the nick of time, an unholy mess.

In the sunshine the next morning, the gathering crowds had no idea of what had gone on a few hours earlier.

I think the Hyde Park staff let out a great big “Phew!” when everything went so smoothly on the 21st.

We won’t say anything about what the gun carriages did to the new turf – but will mention that relaying the relaying is already underway!

Sue Price

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