New bench unveiled in memory of Val Smith

By Sarah Edwards

IMG_0167.jpg bench

A commemorative bench has been placed outside Blackbird Leys Community Centre Adventure Playground in memory of former Oxford County Councillor Val Smith.

A memorial service was held at the Community Centre with many local dignitaries who she worked with, including The Lord Mayor and East Oxford MP Andrew Smith.

Andrew Smith said: “I’m really proud of the adventure playground and the bench here in memory of Val. It was made at the Pathways Shelter Project in Blackbird Leys. Val certainly put a lot of work into the BLAP play area and her continued work here and has done a tremendous amount to support the local people here.”

Kirsty Brooks who works at the Community Centre said: “I’ve been working for three years and I’ve just done my level two as a play worker so I can work with children aged 8 to 13 years. In the summer holidays we run a group aged 5 to 8. The kids are really excited to see the mayor and the local MP and get autographs! It’s really nice to have the bench put here for Val.”

Joey Phillps who is in charge of activities at the Adventure Playground said: “Val Smith was a wonderful person and was instrumental in getting BLAP up and running again. She believed in the work we are doing for the community.

“Speaking to local people they all said she made you feel welcome by having a seat and a cup of tea and listening to what you have to say. This bench is a mark of respect in remembering the late Val Smith.”