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Community Orchard Re-opens

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Contess Howe 02
Planting Plumb Tree
Neepa and Yogesh Patel with Diccon Proctor
New access path
Senior Visitors

The community orchard at Townsend Green has recently had some work carried out to improve accessibility and to introduce some raised flower beds. On Saturday 9th July a formal re-opening ceremony was conducted by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire Countess Howe.

Diccon Proctor, chairman of the Townsend Community Orchard committee, welcomed members of the public as well as invited guests, including Neepa and Yogesh Patel from Vicarys Pharmacy and Lindsey McGibbon manager of Abbeyfield care home, as well as some of the Abbeyfield residents and committee members.

Since this orchard was planted in 2015 it has become one of the most cherished green spaces within the village — a place where residents can meet each other, have some exercise, and find a little peace and tranquillity. Its importance to people's wellbeing was very evident during the Covid Lockdowns.

What also became apparent during that time was that not everyone in the village community could access the orchard. The aim of the improvement works has been to enable wheelchair users and those of limited mobility to come and enjoy the ambience of the orchard and participate in our social events.

The work includes a lowered kerb and new gate at the Mallards Croft entrance, hard surface paths and two raised beds forming a lovely sensory garden. The design of the raised beds allows those of reduced mobility to reach and help tend the plants, and this forms part of an active ageing project the orchard committee is promoting with Abbeyfield.

The entire sensory garden has been funded by a generous donation from the owners of Vicary's Pharmacy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the tremendous efforts of all the volunteers who worked at their Covid vaccination clinic.

This project has been a real community effort and thanks are extended to all those involved in realising the successful outcome of the project, including:

Heather the access auditor, Sue and Jane from the parish council, committee members Sylvie, Chris, Dave and Greg, builder Todd and his team, and the residents of Mallards Croft and Townsend Green for their tolerance while the work was being carried out.

Thanks are also due to a couple of heroes who stepped in at the last minute to complete the raised beds — Graham who supplied the compost and soil for the raised beds and Chrissie who did all the design and the planting.

Last but not least, grateful thanks are offered to the hard working orchard volunteer team who turn out time after time to keep the community orchard looking so special.

(The website editor also wishes to thank Carol Mason for providing the excellent photographs — please click on any of the images to view an enlarged version)