The winners were announced at a wine and nibbles event at Home Community Café on 3rd October 2019. Thanks to those who came and enjoyed the evening. A trophy was dedicated to TOM WESTCOTT and ROBIN.
Tom and Robin are Friends of Didsbury Park volunteers who helped create a poppy path from Didsbury Park to St Catherine’s Primary School. One entrant said, We can only imagine how much of a sacrifice it takes from Tom to carry this project, but his commitment to it is obvious. He has, touchingly, donated to the Path also some plants from his late parents’ garden, and so his personal investment in it is clear. He has a clear vision to engage the local community, including the children from the local school, and he is committed to for the Path to be environmentally friendly, with pollinator-friendly plants such as native hedgerow, hardy annuals and long-flowering ornamental plants to please the eyes of a passersby, but also to maintain the wilder areas so important for cover and breeding of wildlife.
Words from Tom Westcott
The Poppy Path Project was born out of an idea by the Friends of Didsbury Park volunteers to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War in 2018. Volunteers cleared building waste materials, stinging nettles and brambles and hundreds of bags of dog poo from the area from School Lane to the tram bridge. A local muralist, Russell Meehan AKA Qubek was commissioned through the Matthew Ludlam Foundation to work his magic on the bridge. Flanders poppy seeds were sown by local residents and school children in a moving ceremony which took place on the ‘new look’ bridge on 11 November 2018. The resulting bloom of poppies in the summer was a joy.
With the new Beaver Road Junior School opening in 2018 there was increased need for walking routes through Didsbury. The volunteers wanted to encourage children to walk to school and for parents to leave cars at home. We received a grant from Manchester City Council for £780 in October 2018 which was spent on the path hedgerow, wildflower seeds and native perennial plants. In summer of 2019 a crowdfunding project raised approximately £7,000, making it a prize winner from the M&S Energy Fund of an additional £5,000 for a total of £12,000.
The Poppy Path is now run by local volunteers and residents as part of the Friends of Didsbury Park charity. Volunteer work has focussed primarily on widening and edging the path, clearing ivy from the trees to let them grow unhindered, improving drainage, planting and sowing. Local schools, Scout groups and church groups have been involved. The path has been used in increased numbers. Also, there are now many bees on the path during the summer months. The path is slowly evolving and will, in time, be a truly amazing sight and a place for insects to thrive. Its future depends on volunteers. Everyone is welcome to come and get involved. It is a lovely way of getting to know other people in the community and making new friendships.
I’m a husband with a 9 year old daughter and a 6 year old son who are both at Beaver Road School. We have lived in and around Didsbury for nearly 20 years. My time is spent balancing family life, being a freelance commercial lawyer, a founder and director of Burton Rd Brewing Co, being part of the Poppy Path project with Robin, mentoring aspiring young lawyers through the One Million Mentors scheme and coaching my son’s U7 Bluestar football team.