Green shoots of recovery as tree set to become sculpture

A NINETY-year-old tree which was vandalised last year is set to be turned into a sculpture.

Plans are afoot to convert the purple beech tree, in Priory Memorial Gardens, Royston, into a piece of public art, which should be completed by winter 2013.

The sculpture idea is the brainchild of Royston Town Council’s Royston in Bloom working party.

Cllr Lindsay Davidson told a meeting of the council’s general purposes and highways committee on Monday: “I think it’s a very nice idea, and a nice way to do something with the tree and have a permanent memorial for the gardens.”

Though the tree is still alive at present, experts from North Herts District Council believe it will not survive for much longer.

Cllr Philip Mayne said: “The tree has no chance of surviving, it is just a matter of when it dies.”

The committee agreed that representatives from Royston in Bloom should meet Dennis Heath, a sculptor who works at Knebworth House, with a view to offering him the commission.

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The sculpture is set to cost �1,500, and Royston in Bloom hopes to obtain grant funding for the project.

A Royston Crow will feature as part of the sculpture, but local schools will be invited to suggest others ideas for things which should be included.

The tree has been part of the memorial gardens since they were developed, but was badly damaged last year when vandals removed a large section of bark from its trunk, damaging the wood tissue beyond repair.

At the time, Cllr Peter Burt said: “It shocks and saddens me that as a result of pointless vandalism one of the more distinguished mature trees that has been a part of Priory Memorial Gardens since the park was originally developed will die.

“Unfortunately, trees are increasingly becoming a target for vandals.

“This latest sickening attack has destroyed a beautiful part of our natural landscape.”

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