Green Park, ghosts and a Unicef appeal

Other royal parks are varied and ornate, but by comparison Green Park is as plain as its name: no ponds, no lakes, no buildings and not a lot of monuments. Just loads of grown-up trees, grass and daffodils. I like its calm economy amid the ritziness nearby.

It does, though, share some common history with St James's Park next door. It's been a hang-out for thieves, notably highwaymen. And then there are the ghosts. Londonist foraged for these in "the wild wood of the West End" two summers ago:

According to writers on ghosts it is a dark, depressing and dangerous place. Peter Underwood described Green Park's "stillness, an air of expectancy, and a sensation of sadness" in his book "Haunted London" and James Clark mentions the park's "subdued atmosphere" in his own "Haunted London'"...

Ghostly suicides linger: the figure of a man in evening clothes and dancing pumps was seen fading into nothing just before the First World War. It was thought to be the shade of a man who had poisoned himself. Be careful which seat you take in Green Park as you may find yourself sharing it with the ghost of a "crazed-eyed old man" trying to cut his own throat with a razor.

Enough! On 7 October I'll be running through Green Park, without fear of spectres or ghouls, as part of the Royal Parks Foundation Half Marathon course (pdf), which also includes Hyde Park, St James's and Kensington Gardens.

My participation in this annual London event will also be a charitable exercise, as I'm running in aid of Unicef. This time last week I was able to announce that I've passed my target of £550, but wouldn't it be nice to push on past the £600 mark? If you've a few quid to spare, please donate it via my Unicef fundraising page. Many thanks.

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