On Saturday 21st January, Haddenham Parish Council officially opened the Rachel Watts Play Park at our Ovins Rise development as a tribute to a beautiful lady we sadly lost last year.
Rachel Watts left a lasting legacy and a void in many people’s hearts after she passed away in 2022. She was instrumental in helping tenants settle into their new homes and acted as Housing Manager for the Haddenham Community Land Trust (HCLT). At Palace Green Homes we worked closely with her and she is dearly missed by our colleagues.
Mark Hugo, Parish Councillor and past Chair of HCLT addressed a gathering of 40 people at the event, including Jo Alderson and Lisa Leonard, part of the team at Palace Green Homes.
His words were touching: “Rachel tackled everything with huge enthusiasm, determination and just good common sense! She performed her magic in similar roles for Stretham & Wilburton Community Land Trust and for East Cambridgeshire Community Land Trust.”
Rachel’s two daughters, Ruby and Isabel, her husband, David Watts, her mother Janice Holmes and her step-father Alan Holmes all attended the moving tribute. Daughters Ruby and Isabel cut a ribbon to mark the opening of the park and shared how proud they are of their mum’s achievements, work and professionalism. They continued to reminisce, adding: “We loved her funny laugh. She always made us all giggle.”
Mum Janice explained how much the Community Land Trust meant to Rachel: “She really got alongside the tenants and understood their various situations. She cared about families and saw the importance of having places for children to play.”
Jo, Sales and Customer Care Manager and Lisa, Community Housing Manager and part of the customer care team at Palace Green Homes, were both honoured to attend. They were joined by parish councillors, HCLT Trustees, residents of Ovins Rise and friends and family of Rachel. Jo reflected on the day: “It was a wonderful accolade for a wonderful lady, inside and out. Rachel was strongly admired as a devoted worker but also a lovely person by all of us at Palace Green Homes. The event saw many people gathered together who have been influenced by her dedicated work. Her memory will live on in the hearts she touched and now the play park in her name.”
HCLT tenant Rebecca Fox said: “I was going through a difficult patch and Rachel hugely helped when I was moving in. It’s great we have named the park after her.”
The play park is situated in the middle of Ovins Rise. We worked in partnership with HCLT, supported by Haddenham Parish Council, Homes England, East Cambridgeshire District
Council and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, to deliver this 54-property development. You can read more about how we teamed up HCLT here.
Children of Haddenham are enjoying this Parish Council asset that will carry on Rachel’s legacy. Ruth Asanga, aged nine said: “It’s fab having this on our doorstep. We play there all the time.”
Thank you to Haddenham Parish Council for holding a beautiful homage to the life and work of Rachel Watts.
Opening of Play Park – family (L-R: Isabel, Ruby and David Watts and Alan & Janice Holmes)
For more information about our Community Led Development, please visit https://www.palacegreenhomes.co.uk/about-us/community-led-development/.
For more about the site on Ovins Rise in Haddenham, go to https://www.palacegreenhomes.co.uk/developments/west-end-gardens/