Cancer charity event cancelled after park damage

Race for Life had been due to take place at Trent Park on Saturday, reports James Cracknell

The Cockfosters Road entrance to Trent Park has not been fully repaired following damage caused by a lorry in August
The Cockfosters Road entrance to Trent Park was damaged by a lorry in August

A leading cancer charity was forced to cancel a major fundraising event because of the damage caused to Trent Park by a music festival two months ago.

Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life event had been due to take place at Trent Park this weekend but was cancelled after the charity was told its delivery vehicles could not use the main entrance gate.

The park’s Grade 2-listed entrance gate in Cockfosters Road was hit by a lorry in August, prior to the staging of 51st State Festival, and is now undergoing repairs. A second festival that was due to take place later that month was subsequently cancelled.

Cancer Research UK had still hoped to host its event, a fun run for supporters who raise tens of thousands of pounds, but the charity was told by Enfield Council that its delivery vehicles could not use the gate. Alternative access could not be arranged.

Race for Life’s event manager, Courtney Culverhouse, said: “The access gates to Trent Park were damaged during a festival held there in August.

“As a result, large vehicles are not allowed to use that entrance. We needed access for two articulated lorries to deliver all the equipment and water needed for our events.

“Although Enfield Council were supportive and would have allowed us to use the site, access remained a problem. We tried to get permission from a housing developer to enter the park via a different entrance, but despite repeated approaches, we didn’t get approval.”

Other parts of Trent Park suffered damage from the August music festival, and have also not been fully restored, meaning Cancer Research UK would have had to use a smaller area of the park than it had originally planned.

Courtney said: “Even if we had managed to get in, we felt we would have been trying to deliver a big event in a much smaller and damaged space – ‘making do’ instead of delivering the kind of positive experience participants would have expected.”

Fundraisers who had signed up for the Race for Life event in Enfield were instead invited to participate in a similar event at Finsbury Park.

Courtney added: “Enfield was one of our ‘bumper’ days with five separate events taking place. So, with just over two weeks to go before the event, we needed to make a call rather than risk losing money by cancelling our suppliers at the last minute.

“We had another Race for Life event at Finsbury Park that we could offer to participants, so sadly we decided to cancel the Enfield one.”

Brenda Scott, from Cancer Research UK, apologised for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation and said: “We’ve always had great support in Enfield and are so disappointed we can’t be there this year, especially after such a long wait.”

There have been repeated calls for the council to stop allowing large-scale music festivals to be held at Trent Park because of previous damage they have caused and the impact on park users.

Update (11th Oct): A council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that as a result of ongoing works to restore the grounds at Trent Park, Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life team made the decision to cancel their event at Trent Park. We would encourage anyone who wants to take part to look at other options so that this fantastic charity can still receive all the support it can get to raise money towards life-saving research. Affected participants have been contacted by Race for Life. We look forward to welcoming back Race for Life runners next year.”

For more information about Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life events:
Visit raceforlife.org