Queen's honour for borough council parks manager
RUGBY Borough Council's parks and grounds manager has been honoured in the Queen's 90th birthday honours list, receiving an MBE for his work to improve the quality of parks across the country.
Chris Worman, who is 48 and originally from Leicester, has been a volunteer for the Green Flag awards for the past twenty years, visiting and critiquing parks and open spaces in his own time.
His days off from managing Rugby's parks, including the flagship Caldecott Park in Rugby town centre, have seen him visiting and judging parks across the UK, Jersey, New York and Abu Dabhi - and in 2012 the Queen's private garden at Buckingham Palace.
Worman said: "I have been passionate about parks and green spaces for as long as I can remember. When I left school, I knew I wanted to always work outdoors and at 16 years of age ended up working on my local park in Leicester where I had played as a child.
During the late eighties and early nighties I started to witness a decline in the standard of our parks so when the Green Flag Awards came along I jumped at the chance to invest some of my own time as a judge.
"Green Flag parks all have a detailed management plan, complete with a sustainable vision for the park and details of how this is to be delivered. This has resulted in parks becoming more resident focused, delivering what local people want."
Whilst judging parks he has seen new ideas that have since featured in Rugby, including areas of insect friendly wildflower planting, natural play features, parkour and skater friendly features, community herb gardens and most recently, bee hives.
Cllr Lisa Parker, Rugby Borough Council portfolio holder for Environment and Public Realm, said: "Chris' enthusiasm for seeing residents enjoying their local green space will be evident to anyone who has visited one of Rugby's parks, be it Caldecott Park in the town centre or one of the local parks such as at Centenary Park in Newbold or the new pocket park in Millennium Green.
I am thrilled that Chris has been recognised in this way, and equally pleased that we have been able to benefit from Chris' extensive experience and the ideas that he has picked up on his travels for Green Flag.
"Rugby's parks are some of the best in the country, as recognised by this year's entry to the Britain in Bloom competition. I have no doubt that Chris' personal commitment to quality parks is part of the reason that ours are so special."
Worman added: "It’s obviously a real honour to be recognised with an MBE, both personally and professionally.
"Most importantly though the award recognises the importance of the Green Flag Award scheme itself, and acknowledges the role of public parks along with all the people involved in their management and maintenance."