Lincs park home residents turn green into gold

Orchard park residents with Tim Wells (centre, rear) and the bird boxes which will soon be home to spring chicks

Orchard park residents with Tim Wells (back) and the bird boxes which will soon be home to spring chicks

Botanist David Bellamy has saluted the “amazing achievements” of residents at The Orchards retirement park in Lincolnshire, and the park’s family owners.

Professor Bellamy made his comments this month (January) when he announced the park as a winner of his prestigious Conservation Award 2017 at its top gold level.

He said the residents of the 60 park homes at The Orchards in Ruskington had played a big part in helping it gain the green accolade, thanks to their concern for the natural world.

But David Bellamy added that his award also considered how people acted as good neighbours to their local community – and this, he said, made the park “a crystal clear winner”.

Earlier this year, fundraising at The Orchards enabled it to present a £1000 donation to LIVES, the Lincolnshire Integrated Voluntary Emergency Service.

It brings to over £13,000 the amount given in recent years to support the service which, in 2016, says it helped over 50 people in the Ruskington area with medical emergencies.

David Bellamy also praised the park's bee-friendly projects

David Bellamy also praised the park’s and residents’ bee-friendly projects

The Wells family, owners of The Orchards, have worked together with residents – all aged 50-plus –  on a range of imaginative initiatives to raise cash for LIVES.

They include the printing and sale of greetings cards based on illustrations of wildlife at The Orchards, painted by one of the residents.

A range of different collection and recycling schemes have also helped to swell the total.

The Orchards was founded 55 years ago by the grandmother of its present owner Tim Wells whose parents, Jane and Alec, held the reins for many years, and are now semi-retired.

According to David Bellamy, the park has become an oasis for wildlife, thanks in part to hundreds of native trees and shrubs planted by the Wells family, and the habitats they provide.

There are also bird and owl boxes positioned throughout the grounds, and recently residents came together to build an additional 24 of these to encourage spring nesting.

David Bellamy also praised the park’s butterfly garden, wildflower meadow and the gardens of residents where high nectar-bearing blooms attract a wide variety of pollinators.

This has also lead to Professor Bellamy designating The Orchards as an official “Honey Bee Friendly” park as part of his new initiative to help protect the threatened insects.

“Our residents are mainly retired or semi-retired, but their enthusiasm for getting involved with life on the park and beyond knows no bounds!” said Tim.

“As well as participating in events at The Orchards, including fundraising, many are also active in the local community as volunteers for various organisations.

“It is their concern for helping to safeguard the natural world which has helped us to gain the David Bellamy award for seventeen years in succession, and that’s a fantastic achievement.

“David’s continued support for our environmental and charity work will, I’m sure, spur us on to even greater things this coming year!” added Tim.

More information about the park is available at www.orchardspark.co.uk.

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