'It will be very Royston' - Sculptor to turn vandalised Priory Memorial Gardens tree into work of art
PUBLISHED: 09:04 07 October 2016 | UPDATED: 09:04 07 October 2016
A prominent purple beech tree which was damaged by vandals in 2012 is about to be given a new lease of life as a piece of public artwork at the centre of Royston's Priory Memorial Gardens.
The tree, which is nearly 100 years old and had been a firm favourite with users of the park over many years, finally died this year after vandals removed a large section of bark causing it damage beyond repair.
Councillor Peter Burt is responsible for environment at North Herts District Council.
“The tree had no chance of surviving such a thoughtless incident of vandalism.” he said.
“Creating a sculpture is a wonderful way of salvaging at least some of the distinguished tree and, by working in partnership with all the organisations we aim to bring the people of Royston a piece of public artwork that will be admired for years to come.”
Knebworth House sculptor Dennis Heath has been commissioned to carry out the work.
Mr Heath met with council representatives and the Naturally Royston Working Party to discuss the options available.
“I was approached a while back to do the work, but it has to be agreed upon by different departments,” he said.
“I’m very pleased to have been asked back having done some work in the town for the millenium celebrations.
“The work will take about three days, and it will certainly give the tree a new lease of life.
“I can’t say too much about what the finished piece will be, but there will be a crow and a pasque flower – it will be very Royston.”
John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance donated £1,500 towards the cost of the artwork, and the council has confirmed it will be around four metres in height.
Council workers are aiming to start work on reducing the tree to retain the main trunk this week and the carving of the artwork is due to start shortly afterwards.
Royston Town Council clerk Susan Thornton Bjork, said: “We are sure that the artwork will be a real attribute to the gardens.”