2018 will see the fifteenth anniversary since the formation of the charity Friends of Histon & Impington Recreation Ground ( registered charity number 1100193 ) or Friends of the Rec for short. . The original objective in 2003 was to start and progress community fundraising for the Recreation Ground redevelopment project, and well over £50,000 was raised in the first five years for that specific objective. Histon & Impington Parish Council own and operate the Recreation Ground and it is with the Parish Council the Friends work closely and in partnership with.
The first stage of the Friends history concluded in May 2006 with the opening of the new Recreation Ground Centre and new sports courts by Pat Jennings. The community fundraising events transformed the villages’ perception of the Recreation Ground and thousands visited the Rec to attend Balls, concerts, runs and sports days.
The Friends of the Rec committed to continue their fundraising efforts in the summer of 2006 and since then a further £50,000 has been raised to improve Recreation Ground facilities most notably the Rec outdoor gym and the complete redevelopment of the Recreation Ground play area. The enlarged play area opened in June 2010.
The Friends in November 2011 staged the first Bonfire Burn 10k which was expected to be a small running event but nearly 750 runners took part in a memorable event. In the last five years numbers have continued to increase and the Bonfire Burn 10k has become one of the District’s largest sporting events with 920 running in 2016.
2012 was an iconic year of celebration for the country and the Friends of the Rec took full advantage.
The Jubilee Weekend in June probably saw the greatest range of community events over one long weekend that Histon and Impington have ever seen, and this was the culmination of two years detailed planning. Nearly 7000 people attended and took part over the weekend in events ranging from the tea dance, the Jubilee Ball, Celebrating Village Talent, a country trek, Village Church Service and a huge Village Jubilee Fun Day.
The next month witnessed the Village London Olympic celebration on the early evening of Friday 6th July 2012,. A wonderful two and half hours followed before the rain came for a premature ending. In all 2500 attended including over 1000 children from local schools.
2014 saw the first ‘Flaming June Half Marathon‘ held on a glorious sunny Sunday 1st June with over 650 runners running on the day. A few weeks later saw heavy downpours dampen the village’s celebration of the Tour de France.
In September 2014 on a Friday evening 250 people saw the moving film ‘ Warhorse ‘ on a giant outdoor film screen on the Recreation Ground.
The Autumn of 2015 saw the innovation of the Strawberry 50 Community Cycling event with the Friends working in partnership with Histon & Impington Bicycle Club. The Strawberry 50 saw a choice of three routes for all types of cyclist and families and over 500 rode in the first event.
In July 2016 the Friends of the Rec organised its first Rec Summer Festival partly to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Rec redevelopment and to do something a little different. The five day event attended by over 4000 included a Cricket meal with Graham Thorpe as guest, a village Rio Olympic celebration, a summer tea, the Indie Killers in concert, a Summer Ball and a Community Funday
In addition to the community fundraising the Friends have developed a range of new sports and exercise activities over the last decade which is in line with the charity’s objectives. It started with a weekly Pilates class and the portfolio of exercise and activity classes has grown each year, and with the continued involvement of the Village Older Persons Coordinator Jean Newman the numbers of older people attending has steadily increased.
One of the most pleasing achievements was the formation of Histon & Impington Stroke Action in March 2013 working with a Ely based charity called Pos+ability to provide an activities sessions for stroke survivors and recoverers.
The group activities run under the Friends umbrella include the following;
- Histon & Impington Stroke Action
- Chair Based Exercise Group
- The Rec Singing Group
- Histon & Impington Table Tennis ( HITT)
- Histon & Impington Croquet Club
- Histon & Impington Runners AKA HI Runners
In March 2014 the members of the charity decided to change the objectives of the charity to include help working on the development of the potential community park project on the Bypass Farm site in the north of Histon and change the charity name to Friends of Histon & Impington Recreation to reflect the wider objectives of the charity. Now that the Bypass Farm is not going to happen the Friends will look at updating their objectives and constitution in the summer of 2017.