The stone bench has become damaged over time and is showing its age. Parts of the slate have crumbled and gone missing, and the seat has been dislodged. A full clean and repair of the bench will bring this piece of public art back into full use in a very attractive area of Sleaford. It will be pleasing to see the stones cleaned and the green slate insets replaced, together with a new semi-circle of edging bricks to protect the front edge. Local schoolchildren from William Alvey and Church Lane schools will also be involved in the project throughout, particularly in the planting of cowslips on the Green, which used to be part of Lollycocks Field.
A plaque will go on display on the wall of Sleaford Museum, next to the mosaic dedicated to Les Gostick, to direct visitors to the location of Gregson Green.
The Civic Trust has been successful in being awarded a grant from the Power Station Fund for the project and has engaged Carre Heritage to carry out the necessary work, which began in September 2021 . The grant, together with substantial donations from the Gregson family and others, donations from Trust members and contributions from Gregson Day (held at the William Alvey School on 27th September), will completely cover the costs of the project.
Update (October 2021):
Children from the William Alvey School and Church Lane School have planted cowslips adjacent to and around the area of the bench, which is now completely renovated.
The finished bench, beautifully restored by Carre Heritage, was officially opened on 18 October 2022
18th October 2022, the scene was set, the re-opening of the Harry Gregson Bench on Gregson Green. Bunting printed with cowslips hung from the trees, the bench swept clean, a ribbon tied across and a framed photo of Harry sitting on his bench looking out over Lollycocks. His family had been down the weekend before to prune the tree bases and the litter pickers from William Alvey had cleaned the green and used their new bin.
At 2 pm in lovely sunny weather we all assembled - the Church Lane class (now a year taller) involved in the project, a hundred pupils or so from William Alvey representing the whole school, the Mayor Linda Edwards-Shea; NKDC representatives Anne-Marie Shepherd (the Power Station Awards Fund); the Town Council's ground works team; Head Teacher Stephen Tapley and staff from William Alvey; teachers from Church Lane and most importantly, Harry’s family - daughter, his grand-daughter and his great granddaughter.
Thanks must go to the Museum who donated to the project and have fixed plaques on their walls, and to Mark Bamford who whole-heartedly took on the lino printing workshops with myself and Kate Batsford in the schools, and gave very engaging talks to the Alvey pupils about water and the importance of the River Slea (I watched an expert engage 5 year olds!).
Also in attendance were members of the Civic Trust who have supported me in the running of the project and, last but not least, a special thanks to Maggie Carr and her team of stone masons because they did the actual work. If I have missed anyone from the attendees, my apologies.
The ribbon was cut by 3 pupils from the schools, who in the case of William Alvey have been involved in the litter bin campaign and conservation in their school grounds and care of Gregson Green. The Civic Trust and William Alvey intend to hold a Gregson Day each year in September/October to remind our town’s citizens, young and old, how lucky we are to have such a valuable river flowing through our pretty town.
Harriet Brand, Project Leader.