Sculptures launched in Newark's Sconce and Devon Park

17 July 2017

Wood sculptures depicting scenes from the British Civil Wars in Newark's Sconce and Devon Park were paid a visit by the district's civic party and sponsor Tesco.

Newark and Sherwood District Council chairman Councillor Linda Tift launched the new features and was accompanied by Diane Haddon, New Ollerton Tesco store manager Sam Johnson, Tesco Community Champion Kathy Lainsbury, sculptor Peter Leadbeater and landscape architect Michael Brabham.

Shoppers voted for the sculptures, made from the timber of Wellingtonia trees, under Tesco's Bags for Help scheme where each 5p paid for carrier bags is donated to community projects.

The  sculptures, which include soldiers and a horse,  now stand in a part of the park set out as  a natural play area in 2009. The original facilities were  made  using trunks from trees that had been felled in the park but by 2015 these had started to rot and were becoming unsightly and dangerous so officers from the  district council and the Friends of Sconce and Devon Park started to think about how the area might be transformed.

Council Business Manager for Parks and Amenities Phil Beard said: “We wanted to keep the area as somewhere where children could play but also thought that it should better reflect the history of the park. An early challenge was how to find the money to pay for the improvements but fortunately Tesco’s ‘Bags of Help’ scheme came to the rescue!”

In 2015 the Government introduced a 5p charge for carrier bags, with retailers being expected to donate the proceeds to good causes.  The charge was introduced in response to the problems caused by single-use carrier bags, with more than 7.6 billion of which were given away to customers by major supermarkets in England in 2014 alone. Plastic carrier bags take longer than other bags to degrade in the environment, can harm wildlife, and are extremely visible when littered in our towns, parks and countryside and charities such as Keep Britain Tidy had become increasingly concerned about their environmental impact.

Tesco launched its ‘Bags of Help’ scheme in 2015 and the district council and Friends of Sconce and Devon Park decided to submit a bid. The council was  selected as one  of the three projects to receive funding and following a public vote in local Tesco stores were judged to be the public’s favourite project. The grant has been used to clear away the remains of the old area and to pay for the design, construction and installation of the figures.

New Ollerton Tesco branch community champion Kaith Lainsbury said: “It's lovely to see what Bags of Help scheme can do for the community and we hope that everyone gets lots of enjoyment out of the sculptures. If anyone would like some help with any sort of project that benefits the local community please go to”

Councillor Tift thanked Tesco for providing the funding, landscape architect Michael Brabham from the environmental charity Groundwork, sculptor Peter Leadbetter and the Friends of Sconce and Devon Park for their continued support.

She said: “I’m sure that many people of all ages will gain pleasure from interacting with the figures and that they will form a lasting legacy. In the autumn we intend to sow wildflower seed around the area so that it becomes a more naturalistic and wildlife friendly environment.“

Paul Reed, chairman of the Friends group, said: "The Friends are most grateful to Tesco for choosing the Park as a beneficiary of its Bags of Help Scheme. We are also grateful to Tesco customers for voting for the park ensuring it received the higher amount of £12,000.

"The new carved figures will not only make a wonderful natural play area, but also act as an educational tool to help teach both young an old about the history of the town and the park with its wonderful Queen's Sconce."


(From left):  Diane Haddon, New Ollerton Tesco Community Champion Kathy Lainsbury, Tesco store manager Sam Johnson, Newark and Sherwood District Council chairman Councillor Linda Tift, landscape architect Michael Brabham and sculptor Peter Leadbeater.

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