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Sun shines on the official opening of Old Chapel Garden in Stonehouse

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A community garden transformed by volunteers with the support of Stonehouse Town Council and nearly 20K in grant funding was officially opened at a ceremony on Saturday.

The event in the Old Chapel Garden behind Stonehouse High Street marked the successful end to a 2.5-year project to create an accessible, colourful, tranquil space that can be enjoyed by everyone.

Work on the project began in 2019 when, in partnership with Stonehouse Town Council, Stonehouse in Bloom won £16,800 in grants from Barnwood Trust and Gloucestershire County Council to create new paths and seating areas, install new fencing and an entrance arch as well as increasing the flower borders and putting in new raised planters. 

Six trees and a bench have been donated by local people in memory of loved ones and five carved wooden sculptures, created by local artist Denius Parson, have also been installed.

On Saturday, 70 guests linked with the project, sat in the sunshine enjoying refreshments provided by Wynn’s Café and music played by local group Klarinets, to see Town Mayor and member of Stonehouse in Bloom, Cllr Gary Powell, officially cut the ribbon following a speech by Chair of Stonehouse in Bloom, Pam Swain.

She said: “At last we can celebrate this amazing achievement for SIB members, who have spent hours and hours to produce this magical place in which we are all standing. Many other people have also been involved. I can’t name everyone but I do want to pick out just a few.

“Kay Lillington who designed the garden for us as a gift without charge; the Barnwood Trust, who gave us the major grant, which enabled us to proceed with the project. We are enormously grateful to them and to Tanya Kirby, who guided us through the very detailed application process.

“Lesley Williams supported us with two other grant applications to the county’s Growing our Communities Fund, which paid for the main path through the garden, the entrance arch, some of the bow top fencing and for our wonderful sculptures. 

“We are hugely grateful to Stonehouse History Group, which provided the informative history board and to Stonehouse Rotary, which enabled us to have a water fountain in the garden. 

“Finally, I want to thank the Town Council who have allowed us the freedom to redesign this space and for the support and encouragement of all the officers.”

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