Praise for DIY SOS-style heroes who revamped popular attraction
Helping to improve the 1471 flower bed are, left to right: Charles Davies, Ollie Alonso, Theresa Johns and Stuart Luker. Unselfish volunteers sprung into DIY SOS-style action to spruce up an area of Tewkesbury. It might not have been on the scale of the BBC One television show, which sees Nick Knowles and his team transform people’s homes with the help of the public. But the fact that two companies helped to tidy up a popular attraction in the town for free has impressed Tewkesbury in Bloom volunteers.
They had been keen to improve an area behind a flower bed that remembers the 1417 Battle of Tewkesbury. Wear and tear meant the fencing collapsed earlier this year and Tewkesbury in Bloom could not afford the estimated £2,000 cost of installing new 6ft high trellis panels. They provide screening and support for plants behind the 1471 flower bed and the garden which is at the junction of Gloucester Road and Lower Lode Lane and is owned by Tewkesbury Borough Council.
For a number of years, gardening volunteers have cared for and maintained the flower bed under a licence agreement with the council. It is a popular place for picnics and is the main pedestrian access to the battlefield site during the medieval festival weekend in July. The garden is known fondly by residents as the 1471 flower bed due to the fact that the box hedging has been clipped into numbers representing the year of the battle and is traditionally planted with red and white geraniums to represent the houses of Lancaster and York. Council contractors removed the broken fencing from the site and, just like in DIY SOS, local businesses came forward to help the gardening volunteers. Billy Dudfield, owner of Toddington-based Cotswold & Vale Fencing & Landscaping Supplies, provided the replacement trellis fencing and posts.
And Stefan Roberts, of Tewkesbury-based Roberts Express Delivery, rallied round a small construction team made up of employees and volunteers to erect the fencing. Andy Noble, the council’s asset manager, said: “We really do appreciate the support with this fencing. This type of partnership working helps the authority to deliver more to the local community.” Mr Dudfield said: “My brother and I are from Tewkesbury originally and we wanted to do our bit for the town. We were very pleased to be have been able to help the volunteers.” Last year the 1471 flower bed was on the Heart of England in Bloom judging route and helped to gain a gold award for the town.
This year’s event results will be revealed on September 14 when representatives from Tewkesbury in Bloom will go to Warwick Castle for the awards presentation. The highlight this year for them has been being filmed for a new BBC Two fly-on-the wall documentary about Britain in Bloom gardening groups, which is due to be aired in Spring 2018.