Our Friend of the Month for March is retired teacher Jane Caudwell, a regular “jogger” taking part in the weekly Lydiard Parkrun and a long- time visitor to the house and park. Jane says:
I love Lydiard as it is large enough to feel as though you are in the country whilst still being close to Swindon. On busy summer days it’s great to see families and friends enjoying picnics and barbeques and running around playing games, as well as people reading books or just sitting soaking up the atmosphere. One of the main reasons I joined the Friends in 2016 was to help make sure the house and park stay open to the public and I’m so pleased that it has.
Lydiard has been a special place for me on so many occasions – meeting friends, walking round with Old Town Belles WI as part of our annual June Walking challenge, running in The Race for Life and enjoying live music events. On primary school visits I remember the pupils’ excited faces when they dressed up in Victorian costume and the many school proms, watching the students arrive in a variety of vehicles and even on horse- back! As a member of the Friends I always enjoy the talks and the Christmas meetings and feeling that I am supporting such an amazing local facility.
Lydiard Park is an ideal venue for Parkrun in Swindon. The whole 5 k route is off road along paths within the park, so we have no traffic worries. The run is a good place to meet likeminded people and participate in a non-competitive and supportive environment. Each week, volunteers marshal and encourage us as we run, jog and walk. Volunteers also act as pacemakers for those who have an ideal time in mind. My Parkrun is non-competitive; I am pleased to “get round” the route, and enjoy the run. Some runners celebrate significant birthdays and other milestones such as having run their 300th Park Run! This month Swindon Parkrun celebrates its own 10th anniversary.
The views around the route are stunning, and we watch the flowers and trees as they change through the seasons. The last section takes us along the avenue towards Lydiard House itself, always a welcome sight and it is lined with the fastest runners and families and friends who applaud and encourage us as we try to speed up to cross the line.