Award-winning warden retires

Wilton Park warden, Barry Daly is retiring. (D523A239)
Wilton Park warden, Barry Daly is retiring. (D523A239)

WILTON Park will bid farewell to a friend this weekend as its beloved warden retires.

On Sunday Barry Daly will patrol the park for the last time before taking a well-earned break.

His departure marks the end of an era for the park, after the Friends of Wilton Park dissolved last week.

The 67-year-old has become a familiar face for families and dog-walkers alike and said he was heartbroken to be leaving the role.

“The Batley people have always supported us,” he said.

“The park is theirs, and with me being the warden, I’ve become theirs.”

Mr Daly’s time at the Batley beauty spot has seen it banish yobs, crack down on anti-social behaviour, win a coveted Green Flag Award and celebrate its centenary year in style.

And his hard work saw him win both a Reporter Series Local Heroes Award and a Divisional Commander Award from West Yorkshire Police.

He said: “I like to think I’ve made a difference, with the help of good press, Batley police, the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit and everyone who has contributed to make the park as lovely as it is.”

He also praised the Friends of Wilton Park and the park’s gardeners and said the park was a “multi-agency success story”.

Last Thursday the Friends of Wilton Park met one last time to officially disband.

Members agreed to donate the group’s remaining funds to three charitable causes: £1,000 to the Howland Centre for the Disabled, in Dewsbury, and £400 each for St Saviour’s Church in Birstall and the Heavy Woollen District Scouts.

The group also allocated money for food and bedding for the park’s ducks over the winter months.