Three giant chairs carved with the artwork of local schoolchildren have been donated to a town park thanks to a National Highways improvement scheme.
A small number of trees had to be felled as part of the £24 million scheme at the A45/A6 Chowns Mill roundabout in Northamptonshire. To ensure the trees were not lost to the community, three sections of trunk from an oak tree have been turned into three ornate chairs. One has a giant acorn seat, the second a conker base and the third a hazelnut.
Children from three schools in nearby Higham Ferrers were invited to come up with some nature-themed designs to decorate the large leaves which make up the backs of the chairs – with around 5ft by 3ft space to cover. Taking part were Henry Chichele Primary, Higham Ferrers Junior and Higham Ferrers Nursery and Infant schools. Some 100 entries were received with Town Mayor Councillor Tina Reavey and woodcarver Carrie Yuen having the difficult job of choosing the 30 winning designs to be carved into the chairs.
The finished products have been installed at Nightingale Way park in Higham Ferrers and were officially unveiled by the Mayor on Monday (22 November) with some of the children were on hand to see their works first-hand.
National Highways Construction Assurance Manager, Dermot Doherty, said:
“The children have clearly worked really hard on their designs and the end result is incredible. The chairs look fantastic and can now be enjoyed by local people for many years to come.
We only remove trees when absolutely necessary and try to redress the balance by including extensive tree planting in our plans. Around 1,500 trees will be planted in and around the Chowns Mill roundabout as part of the improvements. But we do appreciate that the trees are important to people so we are delighted to ensure they have a legacy in the community.”
Mayor Councillor Reavey said:
“I couldn’t be more thrilled and honoured to have unveiled the carved chairs. They have been skilfully crafted by Carrie, who has taken the children’s designs and worked them so beautifully into the backs of the chairs. All the children who took part in the competition are to be congratulated.
I’m grateful to those who have worked so hard on the project team to bring the timber from the felled oak back to a site close to its original home. These magnificent giant chairs are going to be enjoyed by many future generations.”