DEBORAH Merrick has been appointed as the first ever heritage ranger for Mary Steven's Park.

The 28-year-old from Amblecote will be based in the park full-time from next Tuesday when she will be responsible for delivering a programme of activities and events over the next three years.

Deborah's appointment was made possible through the 'Parks for People' programme where both Heritage Lottery and Big Lottery funding will cover the costs.

It follows a successful bid last year by both Dudley Council and the Friends of Mary Stevens Park.

Her arrival signals the start of a major £2.6million investment programme in Mary Stevens Park.

That will include the restoration of the listed gates, railings, bandstand and pool. There will also be improvements to the war memorial and its setting while the tea gardens are set to be regenerated.

There will also be the creation of a new cafe by the tea gardens where visitors will be able to buy light refreshments and snacks.

Deborah, who has spent the past four years working for Worcester City Council as a community engagement officer in their parks, said: "There's going to be lots of exciting changes at Mary Stevens Park. It's an important part of my own history and I know just how much it means to the thousands of people who visit the park every year.

"This new role is full of exciting opportunities to gather information about the park's history and engaging with the local community in the many great projects that are happening here now and I hope that I will be a face which many people will get to know."

Anyone interested in volunteering at the park or contributing to the development of community projects can contact the new ranger at