Helpful Hartpury students lend a hand to help community spirit take root in local memorial garden

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A group of Hartpury students swapped pens for spades to dig their way to a whole new meaning of community spirit as they helped build a new local woodland area.

Hartpury’s BTEC Diploma Agriculture Level 2 and 3 students are giving something back to help the community of Coleford by planting a wide variety of native trees in the Angus Buchanan Recreation Field.

The aim of this new venture is to create a wooded area to encourage biodiversity on the site.

Hartpury agriculture student, James Kings, said: “It’s great to have been asked to help with a project which will help to provide something new for a local community.

“There are loads of us here helping and hopefully by the end of it we can have something which will look really good and be beneficial to the natural environment. It’s great to be able to do something practical outside of Hartpury and use the skills we’ve learnt on our course.”

The hope is that this new piece of work will encourage more local residents, schools and community groups to use the area.

Sarah Cheese, who asked Hartpury to get involved in the project, said: “The site was originally built because the residents of Coleford wanted to commemorate Angus Buchanan, a heroic figure whose request was to provide a place for children to play in and enjoy. We’re hoping that with the Hartpury students help we can build a thriving natural environment and encourage more people to come and visit.”

Angus Buchanan, the Coleford resident who the memorial grounds were named after, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his efforts in the First World War, where he rescued two wounded soldiers in the heat of battle. Despite Buchanan losing his sight, he went on to graduate from Oxford University and become a solicitor in his home town.

The project funding was applied for through the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust 'My Wild Space' grant. Community wildlife officer Rosie Kelsall helped develop the project application, which was then funded by Gloucestershire Environment Trust. The total grant was just under £5000.

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