News from our partners: Blooming lovely! Ellesmere garden tribute to charity’s founders

News from our partners Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative

Work is nearing completion on the final phase of a landmark project at Ellesmere to mark the centenary of the Save the Children charity, founded by two remarkable local women.

Horticultural students from Derwen College are putting finishing touches to the new Jebb memorial garden, which will provide a colourful backdrop to a major art installation next to the town’s mere.

Two sculptures and a labyrinth pathway were completed in summer 2020 as a tribute to the pioneering work of Eglantyne Jebb and her sister, Dorothy Buxton, who launched the charity in 1919, at the end of World War 1.

Now trees, shrubs and flowers have been planted in newly-created borders alongside the sculptures at the main entrance to Cremorne Gardens, just a mile from the country house where the Jebb sisters were born.

New information boards and a bench-seat are also being installed as part of the centenary project, which has been led by volunteers from the Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative in partnership with Shropshire Council, Ellesmere Town Council, Save the Children, local schools, businesses and community organisations.

A dozen students from the Derwen’s “Leaf it to Us” enterprise, based at its Walford satellite site, near Baschurch, have been involved in the planting project.

Dan Foster, team leader, explained:

“We drew up a planting plan more than a year ago using locally-sourced plants and shrubs, but we’ve had to make some changes because of effects of the coronavirus pandemic, and this has also restricted the number of students deployed on site. This is the latest of a number of schemes that we’ve carried out in various parts of the county and it provides valuable work experience for our students.”

More than a dozen Eglantyne rose bushes have been planted in the new garden, and the Tudor Griffiths Wood Lane Quarry on the outskirts of Ellesmere has supplied large rocks to be placed between the plants.

Shropshire Council’s sites manager (north) for the Outdoor Partnerships Service, which looks after the Ellesmere beauty spot, said:

“We’re delighted that a new partnership with Derwen College has been established to enable students to create and maintain flower beds within the Jebb garden. We’re also grateful to the Friends of the Mere for generously funding the new plants and to the Sculpture Initiative for their support in developing this outstanding new visitor attraction at The Mere.”

Trudi Graham, the sculpture group’s artistic co-ordinator, said:

“The Derwen trainees have done a tremendous job in developing the Jebb Garden in time for Easter. This is the final stage of a major community project, which began in 2018, supported by grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. There’s been an overwhelmingly positive response from visitors and local people to the sculptures and the labyrinth. The completion of the garden will greatly enhance the setting as a fitting tribute to the Jebb sisters and the vital, ongoing work of Save the Children. Hopefully, it will encourage more people to visit the town and follow our sculpture trail around The Mere and other parts of the town.”

Caption:  Derwen College horticultural students Matthew Stevens, Jarred Griffiths and Rachel Shingler with their instructor Sarah Bennett.

For more information, please contact John Shone, publicity officer, Ellesmere Sculpture Initiative, 01691 624514.

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