St Peter's Park, Little Eaton, Derbyshire, UK Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything

St Peter's Park, Little Eaton, Derbyshire, UK

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On 26 March, 1903, Thomas Bates, a prominent figure in the village of Little Eaton, Derbyshire, died. Bates was born in a house on Duffield Road and was educated at the local National School, which has since become the village hall. In his will Bates donated £1000 to the village, for the draining, levelling, fencing and laying out of a park - having donated the land for a park during his lifetime. He also left money to employ a caretaker for the park. According to the will, the park was to be named St Peter's Park, a fact which puzzled those who knew of him because of his love of St Paul's Church, which can be found directly opposite the park. There was reason behind his request however - he was born on St Peter's Day.

There is a polished granite pillar by the entrance to the park. The north-facing side of the pillar bears an engraving celebrating the coronation of King Edward VIII, with the legend 'Fear God, Honour the King' underneath, while the south side has an inscription honouring Mrs Cocker, school mistress; William Brown, schoolmaster; John Latham, vicar and Samuel Lewis, Sunday school teacher. Although he isn't mentioned on the pillar, the park is also dedicated to Bates.

When the park was first created, it was little more than a four-acre fenced area of flat grass. The park today, however, is rather different. One corner of the park has become a children's play area, with swings, slides, tunnels and monkey bars - all the usual kid's paraphernalia. The rest of the park is given over to a football pitch and cricket pitch, with a small pavilion next to the children's area. The park is also used as the village primary school's playing field, the school lacking a field of its own.

Come the last Saturday in July, the park comes to life when the village carnival is held. The carnival begins with a fancy dress parade from the top of the village at Wesely Crescent, and winds through the village to the park. On the park a small fair sets up, along with book, white elephant and jewellery stalls, tombolas and the much-needed beer tent. In the evening a pig-roast is held, with live music and a fireworks display. The live music is of a standard 'three guitar and drums' variety, playing rock and roll with the occasional folk song.

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