Park gets gold award from David Bellamy

The Orchards park residents with Tim Wells (centre, rear) and the bird boxes which will soon be home to spring chicks. EMN-170124-122926001

The Orchards park residents with Tim Wells (centre, rear) and the bird boxes which will soon be home to spring chicks. EMN-170124-122926001

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Botanist David Bellamy has saluted the ‘amazing achievements’ of residents at The Orchards retirement park in Ruskington, and its family owners.

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

He said the residents at The Orchards played a big part in helping it gain the green accolade, but he added his award also considered how people acted as good neighbours to their local community, making the park ‘a crystal clear winner’.

Earlier this year, fundraising at The Orchards enabled it to present a £1,000 donation to LIVES. It brings to over £13,000 the amount given in recent years.

The Wells family, owners of The Orchards, have worked together with residents on a range of imaginative initiatives to raise cash for LIVES.

The Orchards was founded 55 years ago by the grandmother of its present owner Tim Wells. Prof Bellamy says the park has become an oasis for wildlife, thanks in part to hundreds of native trees and shrubs planted by the Wells family.

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

He 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.

He has designated 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.

“It is their concern for helping to safeguard the natural world which has helped us to gain the David Bellamy award for 17 years in succession, and that’s a fantastic achievement.”