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It's victory for Victoria, the best park in Wales.

Byline: By Katie Jones South Wales Echo

Meet the happiest man in Wales today after his park was crowned the finest in the nation.

Peter Hamblin leads a team of six who tend the lawns, flower-beds and trees of Victoria Park, Canton Cardiff.

Opened in 1897, the fenced park has been a magnet for city residents and families for more than a century.

And now the park is celebrating a double triumph after it was named Best Park in Wales in the 2006 Britain's Best Parks competition, and kept its Green Flag quality award.

Peter, the area parks operational manager with responsibility for Victoria Park, said: 'We're over the moon. It's a fantastic achievement.

'We have a team of about six who work hard to maintain the park, cutting the grass, designing and maintaining the flower beds.

'It takes dedication and commitment.

'It's a community park that attracts so many people. In the summer when the sun is shining you can't see the grass for all the people.

'It definitely is the best park in the country,' said grandmother Beryl Harris, 69, of Butleigh Avenue, Victoria Park, at the park with grandchildren Sam, six, Jordan, 10, and Harrison, four. 'It's lovely, especially in the summer.

'The children love the playground and the paddling pool and I come to listen to the brass bands in the band stand.'

Her daughter Debbie Lewis, 34, of Whitchurch, said: 'It's a brilliant park. The kids always want to go over to nannies' so they can come here.'

The popular 20-acre park includes a playground and paddling pool for youngsters, a bowling green and cafe, as well as impressive floral displays and grassy areas for ball games.

The park became famous for Billy the Seal, a grey seal which lived in the a pool park's from 1912 to 1939 after being caught by a Cardiff-based fishing trawler in the Bristol Channel.

Angus Davidson, 73, of Fairwater, walking his dog Tessa in the park, said: 'It's the best park I've been to in Cardiff.

'The flower beds are lovely and it's nice for walks.'

Ian Small, of lawnmower engine-makers Briggs and Stratton Briggs & Stratton, who sponsor the best parks competition, said: 'It is clear that everyone involved with Victoria Park works hard to make it a safe and welcoming place.

'As well as beautiful floral displays and high standards of horticulture, the park offers extensive leisure facilities and is widely appreciated by the local community.'

The Green Flag Awards reward welcoming community parks that make people feel safe.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 8, 2006
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