Banfield & Pomphrey Funeral Directors, Hastings, was transformed with a wildlife display by Ore Community Land Trust (Ore CLT) and pupils of Sandown Primary School to help protect North East Hastings’ last green area from urbanisation, raising awareness in time for World Environment Day.
Speckled Wood is protected from development by Ore CLT, and Banfield & Pomphrey’s striking window display on nearby Old London Road is grabbing the attention of local families and passers-by to help raise awareness of its importance.
Funeral Director Tony Hart said: “Banfield & Pomphrey is very fortunate being situated on Old London Road. Not only do we get a great view of the last green lung in North East Hastings, Speckled Wood, we’re also in a very busy area and can stand out with our window display.
“I can’t think of a more worthy cause to promote in the area for Word Environment Day than the preservation of Speckled Wood. We hope our transformed windows, thanks to the pupils of Sandown Primary, inspires the residents of Hastings to support the Ore Community Land Trust.”
Unlike much of Hastings, Speckled Wood has become greener over the last century, with a street that used to run through the woodland being demolished in the 1950s and allotments originally allocated to World War I soldiers being abandoned to nature in the 1960s.
Ore CLT was established in 2012 to ensure the woodland’s continued protection against urbanisation, with parts of the 13-acre woodland still being owned by various individuals and organisations.
Ore CLT has also been able to purchase its own plots of land in Speckled Wood to guarantee their preservation, thanks largely to grant funding from Big Local North East Hastings.
Jim Breeds, Chair of Ore CLT, said: “Every now and then someone tries to secure planning permission in Speckled Wood, which is where we come in to campaign for its preservation.
“We’ve been very successful to date. However, our work can only continue so long as the residents of Hastings support our cause, and Sandown Primary along with Banfield & Pomphrey have been a massive help in raising awareness.”
Jim approached Tony, who is a fellow Hastings Borough Bonfire society member, with the idea of utilising Banfield & Pomphrey’s prominent location for Ore CLT and was met with overwhelming support.
He then asked Sandown Primary for the help of its pupils in making colourful woodland drawings, models and paintings to display at Banfield & Pomphrey, and received more than he expected.
Kate Tugwell, Deputy Head at Sandown Primary, said: “There is a strong ‘Outdoor Learning’ ethos at Sandown and we embrace any opportunity to bring the natural world into our pupils’ wider experience. To be able to support the Speckled Wood project was a pleasure.”