One of the features of the Park people reminisce about are the benches: the quiet summer evening spent talking with friends, the lunchtime sandwiches away from the shop-floor, the first stolen kiss at dusk. So, we are thrilled that local log merchant Paul Whittaker, has donated the first bench, which now adorns a copse ‘alcove’ – all ready for Easter strollers.
Paul has known the Park all his life, and remembers the old benches well: when he saw the Park was being regenerated he offered to replace one. So, on Maundy Thursday 2012, Paul brought the log bench to the Park; it was hoisted into a place pre-prepared by Friends, using a telehandler lent to us by Bellway for the occasion (a great boy’s toy)!!
We were also thrilled to find that this log has some ‘provenance’, as it came from a sycamore that used to stand at the Cow and Calf cafe on Ilkley Moor. It was felled earlier this year by owner Mr Falconi, to enable him to offer more visitor facilities at the iconic beauty spot.
Maundy Thursday is traditionally the day of The Last Supper, and the word Maundy comes from the Latin ‘mandatum’ meaning a commandment – the commandment in this case being ‘ love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.‘ (John 13:34) . This does
seem particularly appropriate for Paul’s kind gift, and the time and resource given by many people to turn the Park back into the gift to local people philanthropists Frank and Albert Parkinson wanted it to be.