The end of the Second World War saw a national mood of celebration, relief and a determination to build a better future for all the community. As early as May 1945 the Hethersett Welcome Home Fund was set up, to show appreciation to all those returning from service. In the first year a combination of subscriptions and proceeds of fund-raising events saw over £1395 collected. No doubt the spirit and excitement of what the Account Book describes as “Special Efforts” did much to ensure a warm welcome back into the village community. The cash raised, also played its part, the majority being spent on setting up 225 savings accounts with a £10 deposit.
In November 1946 the Welcome Home Fund was closed, and the balance then used to start up the Hethersett Peace Memorial Fund. Clearly, those that had come back from military service wanted to a fitting and permanent memorial to the local men that had sacrificed their lives in the conflict. They wanted it to provide a lasting recreational amenity for the growing village. Subscriptions continued to be collected and further fund-raising events were organised until there was enough money to buy land from local farmer Mr P H Curson. This was to be used to make a playing field. £880 was handed over to the Parish Council and the purchase was completed on 17th March 1959, with Hethersett Parish Council being the Custodian Trustee of the charity.
Trustees were needed to manage the amenity and the Charity Commission registered the approved scheme through which a committee of three Parish Council nominees and four members elected at the annual parish meeting were responsible for the upkeep and development of the playing field. Preparations were made and by June 1961 the playing field was ready to be formally opened by the Managing Director of Mackintosh Chocolate and a local resident, Charles Wood, the Second Earl of Halifax. The plaque erected to mark the occasion gave the name of the playing Field as Hethersett Memorial Field and Garden.
At that time the playing field was on the fringe of the village and extended further towards where West Croft now begins. In 1967 the need for access to new housing meant a trade between developers and the trustees to allow Recreation Road to be built. This left 7.5 acres of the original playing field and 1.5 acres traded with developers. Then, in 1984 a further 2.5 acres was purchased from Norfolk County Council.
In the decades since the playing field was first developed its formal title seems to have varied, but the published object of the charity, now called Hethersett Memorial Playing Field Trust, has remained constant. It is the “provision and maintenance of a recreation ground for the benefit of the inhabitants of the Parish of Hethersett without distinction of political, religious or other opinions, with the object of improving the conditions of life for the said inhabitants.” It sounds rather grand… but is an aim the trustees continue to take very seriously.