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In our weekly From The Newsroom opinion piece, editor Jeremy Ransome talks of his love for our park and the important role it has played in his life…Without me ever really acknowledging it until now, The Walks has played an important part in my life. I played there as a child, I take part in parkrun there most Saturdays as an adult and have visited it frequently for other reasons throughout my life, never stopping to think how lucky I and the rest of the town are to have such a beautiful free green space on the doorstep.I grew up living opposite the beautiful park and until the age of 14, when my family moved elsewhere in King’s Lynn, I must have played sports there with friends literally thousands of times.
In winter it would be football and in summer it was cricket – and there were often enough boys from Park Avenue, where I lived, and the surrounding streets to have seven or eight-a-side in each sport.Cut knees and elbows were a testament to the fact we’d play tennis on the concrete courts, but only during Wimbledon fortnight, of course. And sometimes we’d go jogging – but again, only in the late 70s when the running boom took hold and there was a programme about it on TV each Saturday morning.I’m just old enough to remember splashing about in the old paddling pool on sunny days as a toddler but, although I can remember the old outdoor pool, I was too young to be taken there myself.I enjoyed picnics on The Walks too over the years and, when I was a bit older, it was somewhere to hang out with friends after school. The park wasn’t as beautifully lit at night then as it is now but it was still a nice place to go.Fawkes in the Walks is a wonderful event, but back in the day, parents would build a bonfire in the weeks leading up to November 5 and we would all troop over there on the night and let off fireworks. Health and safety wasn’t such a concern then… which would also explain our winter skating on the frozen pond!And for 20 years I hardly missed a match at the adjacent football stadium, cheering on the Linnets.Even my route to school took in the beautiful avenues of The Walks when I was a pupil at St James Infants and St James Boys (now Greyfriars) Schools.I moved away from Lynn in the late Nineties but only half-an-hour down the road and still returned almost weekly to see family – and to take my own children to the play area, which is much improved since I was a lad.I’ve taken my kids to a couple of Pride events there too and since 2017 have enjoyed the wonderfully organised Saturday morning parkruns. I’ve visited several courses in East Anglia over the past few years, but never one as pretty as The Walks.It was on Wednesday night, during an after-work jog in the park, that its lifelong importance to me really hit home.As I ran around, different parts of the park sparked memories every few minutes and the joy of nostalgia enveloped me.It’s easy to take things for granted, especially when you experience them so regularly, but The Walks is something special and having it makes living in our wonderful town even more pleasant.