April 9, 2013 | Brenkley News
Thousands of daffodils planted by local children are set to burst into life around the new centrepiece in a north east village park.
Late last year, a semi-mature oak tree donated by the Blagdon Estate was transported to the Queen Elizabeth II Field in Dinnington, near Ponteland, to help enhance the landscape of what has become a well-used community facility.
The park, which was formerly the bowling green for the local Miners Social Welfare Organisation, received its QEII designation as part of the 2012 Diamond Jubilee celebrations, and has been landscaped with a number of other trees and shrubs.
Children from Dinnington First School planted around 2,000 daffodil bulbs around the 15-foot high tree, and the Commemorative Plaque at the entrance of the park.
As part of this project, a group of Year Three and Four children from the school will pay a fact-finding visit to the nearby Shotton surface mine, which is operated by regional developer Banks Mining, who paid for the transportation and replanting of the oak tree.
A plaque from the Queen Elizabeth II Trust has been mounted on a new stone wall donated and constructed by local builders E Dixon & J Thompson at the park entrance.
The daffodil bulbs were supplied by Castle Ward Committee and each of the children was presented with a commemorative mug by the Parish Council.
Raymond Thompson, chair of Dinnington Parish Council, says: “The upkeep of the Bowling Green became too expensive after local colliery closures, and the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation handed it to Dinnington Parish Council as trustees to ensure it was able to continue to be used as a recreation area by local people.
“The work that’s been done since has made it into a well used and highly valued asset, and the arrival of the tree has added even more to it.
“It was quite a task to get it relocated, and we’re very grateful for Banks’ support in making it happen, but it has bedded in well and we’re all looking forward to seeing it in full bloom later in the year.
“It’s very important for the children growing up in the village today to retain links to and an understanding of their home area’s mining heritage, and the work they’ve done in school, coupled with the visit to the Shotton mine, will help to show them how our community was built and how previous generations lived.”
Alongside operating the nearby Shotton and Brenkley Lane sites, Banks recently secured planning permission for the Ferneybeds surface mine, which will be located to the south of the village of Widdrington Station, and which will directly support around 40 local jobs.
Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at Banks Group, says: “A great deal of work has gone into securing, managing and improving the facilities at the QEII park, and we’re very pleased to be supporting the dedication of many members of the local community to creating a recreational centrepiece for the village.
“The modern surface mining operations that the Dinnington children will be seeing at Shotton are very far removed from those carried out in the area in previous decades, but our work will provide them with a useful insight into how a surface mine operates, what the people who work there actually do and how complex machinery is used to maximise efficiency while minimising the impact on the surrounding area.”
Projects, community groups, or voluntary organisations looking for funding in the vicinity of a Banks Group development should contact Pauline Johnson at the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342.