The Butterfly Bench nestles in a sheltered spot just below Clapper Brow Wood above the Edison Fields Entrance; the old wooden bench had got rather worn and was collapsing, so we reluctantly took it down. Then, we had a very kind offer of a replacement from the the brethren of Harewood Masonic Lodge, Westbourne House, Otley, which we accepted: a shiny new bench is now in place, one of the four new benches in the Park.
For many decades the spot in the Park near the Kelcliffe Lane Gate, that looks towards the summer setting sun has been a popular place for peace and contemplation. It is an historic ‘memory’ spot known by some older residents as ‘Old Man’s Corner’ where there was a bench in a strange triangular stone walled enclosure – now gone. Back in 2012 we replaced the previous Parkinson bench with a new wooden one, but sadly this irreparably collapsed early in 2020 just before the first Lockdown.
The bench has been sorely missed, so we are more than delighted to announce that a new bench has now been installed with the help of Ben and Lucyanne Harris. The bench is dedicated to their young son Freddie who was one of twins born in December 2013, but who returned to the angels a few days later. Freddie’s sister is now a lively 7 year old enjoying the sledging in the Park.
Parkinson’s Park too now has a ‘Natter Bench’, just inside the Farm Gate between the fir trees.
The idea of a Natter Bench is for people who feel lonely and would like a chat to sit on the bench and make new friends, whilst allowing for “passers-by to take some time out and speak with someone who may be feeling in need of some company”.
Many painted stones are left around the Park for people to find and relocated; it is something children greatly enjoy. So, we were fascinated by the idea of The Tottington Snake – a community project carried out in Tottington Lancashire during 2020.
The idea is to create a snake of painted stones, where people keep adding stones to the snake, rather than move stones around. As stones are added during 2021 they will create a ‘history’ of the year. In Tottington people have painted stones with family news, simple messages, to celebrate big events, or simply giving a seasonal flavour. The Tottington Snake, which goes through a woodland, now has 3,000 stones.
Two local Ladies have both come up with ideas to decorate the Park for Valentines week – we loved them both so here’s the plan.
DECORATING THE FARM GATE
We want to gladden everyone’s heart with a cascade of colourful hearts at the Farm Gate. Knitted, crochet, fabric, tie your heart on the netting during Valentines Week – we’ll put the netting up on 7th.
Parkinson’s Park has always been known for its sledging facilities: 2021 is no different. The gentler slopes are excellent for the little ones, and the steeper ones for the older and more advanced. An excellent classroom for a science and sports lesson on a Friday afternoon.
And one from around the late 1950 early 1960’s – you can see the trees in the copse are quite small.
Over Christmas we put wassailing (good health) wreaths, made from willow from the the Park, in the apple trees of the community orchard.Then today, Twelfth Night, the trees have been wassailed or blessed.
Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering “it will be happier”. ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson – The Foresters 1892
2020 A Year of Learning
Well, 2020 did not work out as we had planned, but overall it is probably true to say that for Parkinson’s Park it worked out better; we certainly learnt a lot.
Along the way we lost our community event programme, two benches, and help from Open Country. But as one door shuts another opens, and we gained lots of new visitors using the Park for a variety of purposes, many more people getting involved in building community spirit, a new wood and 4 brand new benches.
We also gained an award as one of the Leeds Parks supporting their local neighbourhood during the Spring Pandemic, and were able to tell our story as one of only 4 Leeds Parks featured on ITV Calendar’s Park Life.
Thank you to everyone who has worked together this year to make the Park special, the people who use it, the people who tidy it, and the ones who enhance it for other to enjoy. Here are some of your photos of 2020
The Friends of Parkinson’s Park wish everyone a good New Year.