Gallery: Countess of Wessex opens Peterborough Garden Park

ALMOST 200 children from eight schools greeted The Countess of Wessex when she opened Peterborough Garden Park today.

The pupils aged between four and 13 played a key part in the Garden Park’s celebrations.

Each child had their hand on the ribbon as the Royal visitor marked the official opening by helping to cut the ribbon outside the doorway to each retail unit.

Mary Foreman, head teacher at Dogsthorpe Junior School, said: “On behalf of both Dogsthorpe Junior and Infant schools it was a fantastic opportunity for our children to have ownership of something taking place on our doorstep. We love to be involved in things that are happening in our areas no matter what.

“For my school, it was part of our aspirations day so the children spent the day thinking about the roles of people involved in Royal visits, like press officers, the military, police, etc. It’s like a project we incorporate into their learning.

“Many of our children are disadvantaged and we want them to have great aspirations. We try to give them a diverse range of experiences so they can think about what they want to be. This Royal visit is not within their normal experience at all.”

Peterborough Garden Park Chairman Gordon Edington added: “We are delighted that so many local children were able to join us in welcoming The Countess to Peterborough Garden Park.”

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The Countess marked the official opening of the Garden Park by unveiling the ‘Children’s Tile Project’, a circular piece of artwork crafted by potter Richard Miller.

This was the first time the tiles were on display, which showcase the names of 320 children from the eight schools. Each child has a unique tile that all join to form a circle around a Valencian olive tree, believed to be almost 75 years old. The olive tree is a fitting accompaniment to the tile project as it is the symbol of peace and, according to Sophocles, is “the tree that feeds the children”.

Peterborough Garden Park opened its gates to the public in February this year.

Since then, thousands of visitors have flocked to experience the exclusive Van Hage garden centre and the Park’s other high quality lifestyle retailers, including Andronicas World of Coffee, Cotswold Outdoor, Cotton Traders, Hawkins Bazaar, Hobbycraft, Le Creuset, Maidenhead Aquatics, Past Times, PBC Books and Pets Corner.

Peterborough Garden Park is an impressive new development located just off the Eye roundabout in Peterborough.

It combines the UK’s premier garden centre with an exciting mix of lifestyle retailers, offering a superior retail and leisure experience all year round. Set against a backdrop of generous landscaping, Peterborough Garden Park has something for everyone, providing a day out for the whole family.

Despite problems of road access during the first weekend, and works being undertaken to improve the Eye roundabout, traffic is flowing well and access is easy.

Van Hage chairman and MD Chris Roberts said: “This is all part of our events programme for the rest of the year which will include an ice rink at Christmas.”

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