School groundsmen saved the day by helping to plant Sedbergh Parish Council's new arboretum just in the nick of time.
With 12 large trees of differing sizes ready for delivery, coronavirus restrictions still in place and the end of the planting season fast approaching, parish councillors were worried they might not be able to get the trees into the ground at Queen's Garden on Station Road in time, because of social distancing preventing local volunteers from working in pairs.
But Sedbergh School came to the rescue with an offer for three of its grounds team working in a COVID-secure bubble to do the spadework at the 120-year-old garden, designed by Edwardian landscape genius Thomas Mawson in memory of Queen Victoria.
The trees were bought by South Lakeland District Council, and officer support has been given by the authority and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority."It's really brilliant we've been able to do this," said Janey Hassam, clerk of Sedbergh Parish Council.
"Under normal circumstances we would have just put a call out for volunteers and the trees would have been in the ground.
"But because we've still got restrictions we were mindful of the fact that certain people wouldn't be able to work together, and if you're lifting a large tree you can't be socially distanced."
Dan Harrison, headteacher of Sedbergh School, said: "We are delighted that here at Sedbergh School we are able to offer the services of our grounds team to help with the tree planting at Queen's garden.
"We are really keen to continue to work with the local community on a number of projects and look forwards to strengthening these links in the future."
Meanwhile, 28 smaller hedgerow varieties - hawthorn, hazel, guelder rose and honeysuckle - were manageable enough for planting by the Friends of Queen's Garden group and the parish handyman, Paul Mitchell, working individually - with special thanks to Ann Parratt, Susa Ellis and Sue Bateman of the frdisiends.
The planting scheme comes after several noteworthy Thuja evergreens had to be felled due to disease.
The garden was formally opened in October 1902 and was handed over to Sedbergh Parish Council and the people of the town in 1906.
The site merits a Grade II listing in Historic England's Register of Historic Parks and Gardens
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