Signed, sealed, to be delivered: Hesketh Park improvement works thanks to generous bequeath

12 April 2024 3min read

Improvement works to Southport’s popular Hesketh Park, made possible by a generous bequest are underway.

In 2023, Sefton Council was notified of a generous bequest of £850,000 for improvements to the park from long-term neighbours and supporters Louis and Anita Marks. The contract has been signed and sealed with the trustees meaning the Council can start on elements of the work.


Since receiving news of the bequest, the Council’s Green Sefton team has been working closely with the Marks family trustees and the Hesketh Park Heritage Group to outline a project plan for works at the park.

Improvement works to the sensory garden begin next week, with the appointment of on-site gardeners for two years to follow shortly.

Additional bins, benches, signage, and notice boards will be installed in the coming months, while larger projects such as the extensive refurbishment of the Victorian Conservatory, will begin in winter 2024.

Resident feedback

In a public consultation, carried out in 2021 before the Council’s Green Sefton service had received details of the bequest, more than half of respondents rated an improvement to the Park’s Conservatory for events, as a very high priority. There was also significant support for improvements to the Park’s heritage features and for replanting in the sensory garden that would improve access for all.

The first phase of restoring the Park’s Conservatory was completed in 2021 thanks to the Council successfully securing a £22,000 grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. Once the refurbishment is completed further arrangements will be made to seek a contractor to manage and operate it.

Mark Shaw, Green Sefton Service Manager said: “Thanks to the generosity of Louis and Anita Marks’ bequest, we are now able to start the delivery of improvements at Hesketh Park and do the kinds of things people have told us they want to see, like completing the refurbishment of the Conservatory.

“And I am so pleased to see that among the planned work is a proposal to create a memorial and acknowledgement of Louis and Anita Marks’ generous bequest.”

Barry Samuels, one of the trustees to the Marks Family Trust, said: “I still recall the magic of Hesketh Park when as a very young boy, my parents Dr Bernard and Jean Samuels and I used to visit my grandfather who lived in a house opposite the park in the early fifties.

“My Aunt and Uncle then moved into the house where his Uncle, Louis, was a fantastic and very skilled gardener. 

“So, it is a fitting memorial to them all that the Family Trust can assist to reinstate the beauty of Hesketh Park for the public to enjoy, hopefully for many years to come.”

Peter Downham and Adrian Fletcher who co-Chair the Hesketh Park Heritage Group said: "The Hesketh Park Heritage Group continues to work with Sefton MBC and all voluntary groups within Hesketh Park to ensure this treasured space will be available for the benefit of local residents, visitors to Southport and future generations.

“We are pleased to have been consulted and involved in the critical discussions which have led to this generous legacy coming to Hesketh Park. We see our ongoing role to ensure that the money is spent wisely and in a timely manner to enhance and maintain the Park for the future.”

Nikki Morris, CEO of Deafblind UK, said: “We are absolutely delighted about the forthcoming improvements to Hesketh Park, which will, once again become a safe and accessible haven for local people who have sight and hearing loss. We are grateful to the Hesketh Park Heritage Group for working so closely with Deafblind UK and taking the people we support into account throughout the planning process.”

To find out more about Sefton’s parks, people can visit:

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