The Meadows were a gift to generations of children in Alvechurch by a mother and father who had lost one of theirs.
A plaque on one of the brick gateposts bears testimony to the heartbreak that blossomed into joy for others over the years:
'These Playing Fields Were Given For the Use of the Children of Alvechurch by Walter William and Edith Wiggin of The Forehill House in Memory of Their Son, George Robert Wiggin Who was Killed in Action in Sinai, on April 23rd, 1916."
Imagine choosing to make such a gift rather than retreating into bitterness or resentment; choosing generosity and lavish love in memory of someone so precious, lost to them.
Jack Holmes, another villager built on the foundation of kindness with gifts of imagination and ingenuity, creating playthings for children from scraps and leftovers: needle grinding stones; a lorry axle and a huge packing case.
These were all still there when we were children. Of course they wouldn't meet the stringent safety standards of today and have since been replaced by shiny new, brightly painted equipment. I remember hanging on for dear life to a circular disk of stone about 6 feet across. It had handles spaced around the stone which were the only thing that kept us from being flung into the air as the disk was spun around at dizzy speed by one of our friends. I can feel the shiny metal of the slide that felt so high, its sides curving up to hold us semi-safe as we shot down feet first or on our stomachs.
And there was a big old tree that had been struck by lightening. We climbed and swung from its branches, imagining ourselves in great adventures.
The closest thing to a beach was this wading pool, which was much cleaner 50 years ago!
This is one of many benches throughout The Meadows, and donated in the memory of someone else who spent many happy hours in them.
This oak tree is one of the oldest in the village at over 400 years old. Below and to the right is the avenue of lime trees that borders the far side of The Meadows.
The lions guarding the paddling pool came from the home of Sir Herbert Austin, founder of The Austin Motor Company.
I hope you enjoyed your trip to The Meadows and maybe one day will visit in person!