Members of Fernhurst Parish Council and Fernhurst Horticultural Society gathered with a glass of fizz between showers to unveil the society’s newly-installed bench at the corner of The Leys and Vann Road in Fernhurst.

Anne and Noel Tonkin cut the ribbon and were among the first to sit on the smart wood and wrought-iron bench, now ready for villagers to use to rest on their walks, when going to and from the shops with bags, to stop, have a chat with family and friends, and watch the world go by.

Anne has been a dedicated member of the horticultural society for 40 years, serving on the committee, as chair and as president during that time.

Noel has also given much to the society for 30 years, being treasurer for 20 of those years.

Anne and Noel were joined for the occasion by Heather Bicknell, chair of Fernhurst Parish Council, and parish councillor Margaret Jenkins; the chair of the horticultural society, Theresa Kennedy; the president, Gill Taylor, the society’s committee and those members involved with the project – Louise Buchanan, Peter and Lesley Buckley, Pauline Colcutt, John Hargrove, Daphne Lawes, Penny Sydenham, Peter Taylor and Keith and Elizabeth Tyler.

The new bench is the finishing touch to the re-wilding project for this area, as part of the Blue Campaign – – which seeks to boost biodiversity in gardens and public areas across the UK.

Last autumn, the horticultural society planted native wildflower seeds, including yellow rattle, tufted vetch, red campion, ox-eye daisies, yarrow, cornflower and scabious, to create a meadow.

It is still in its early stages, as it usually takes a couple of years to successfully establish and manage a wildflower meadow. There are blue wooden hearts in the ground around the flowers to show it is part of the Blue Campaign.

There is also a flowerbed of bee-friendly perennial flowers, giving colourful splashes of pink, purple and white with catmint, verbena bonariensis and milk parsley.

The flowers are already attracting a variety of birds and insects to this new habitat and helping to restore local biodiversity. Sit and rest a while, Fernhurst residents – we hope you will enjoy the bench and being surrounded by a little bit of nature.

We look forward to seeing society members again at the horticultural society stall and plant sale at the Fernhurst Revels on Monday, August 30, from 12.30pm onwards at the Recreation Ground.

Penny Sydenham

Fernhurst Horticultural Society committee member