Via Get Surrey – Author Russell Butt 30.08.12
PEOPLE are being invited to have their say on how Runnymede celebrates the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta.
Despite the disappointment of having a £4m lottery funding bid rejected for the proposed £8m visitors’ centre at Runnymede meadow, the borough council is pressing on with its plans for the celebrations in June 2015, likely to be the biggest event in Egham’s recent history.
At the Egham Royal Show, visitors completed surveys detailing what they would like to see in terms of celebrations.
The public have until September 3 to offer ideas and complete an online survey hosted on the council’s website.
A council spokesman said: “Some great ideas of how to celebrate this special anniversary have already been put forward. The consultation is to provide an additional opportunity for people to have their say while we are still in the planning stage.
“The Olympic opening and closing ceremonies showed how creative we are as a nation and may have inspired our residents with more ideas.”
The survey is being run by the council jointly with the National Trust, which owns the land where the document was sealed by King John in June 1215.
Brian Bowbanks, 74, chair-man of the Egham Over 60s Club, liked the idea of the visitors’ centre, but felt the council could better spend its money within the community.
“It’s a difficult one in these times of austerity,” he said. “It should just be very low key and [the council should] spend more money on the ageing population, social care and things like that.
Leanne Tsang, 20, a French student at Royal Holloway, University of London, said: “I certainly don’t think any money can be spent frivolously at this time.
“Perhaps the best way to celebrate would be to introduce something that will benefit the community as a whole, such as a new facility, but on a smaller scale than that proposed, in honour of the Magna Carta rather than specifically for it.
“This perhaps would be a more fitting tribute as it would bring the community together.
“Over the hundreds of years, the meaning of the Magna Carta has been lost and one might argue that there should be no celebration at all.”
The online survey can be found at www.runnymede.gov.uk/mcconsultation, or paper versions by calling Sarah Walsh on or 01932 425693.