Wednesday, 22 November 2017

School turns old tree into cladding

NEW cladding has been installed at Gillotts School in Henley using wood from a tree that used to stand in the grounds.

NEW cladding has been installed at Gillotts School in Henley using wood from a tree that used to stand in the grounds.

The 150-year-old giant redwood, which stood about 100ft, was felled last year after it was found to be in decline and a potential safety hazard. It was one of four wellingtonia at the front of the school.

The tree was cut down in October last year after the school obtained permission from the tree preservation officer at South Oxfordshire District Council.

It was then left to dry out and over the summer holidays was milled into planks by the Chilterns Green Timber Company.

The planks were clad to the building during the October half-term holiday by wood craftsman Ian Desmond, 53, who is based at Henley Enterprise Park, off Greys Road.

He is a furniture-maker, restorer and designer but also does occasional outdoor work.

Mr Desmond, a former captain and coach at Henley Rowing Club, said: ?I have to say it provides a delightful appearance as you drive into the school.

?To re-use the timber from a tree that was growing just metres away is a great thing and a good project for the pupils to witness.? Fiona Damp, premises manager at the school, said: ?I thought it was the best way to make use of the tree.

?The cladding looked very unpleasant before as it had concrete sections. Now it?s a lot more decorative.

?People have said that it transforms the front of the school. It?s great how positive everybody is being.?

Headteacher Catharine Darnton said: ?The addition of the cladding has transformed the appearance of the front of the school. The fact that the wood has come from one of the giant redwoods that we had to fell only serves to make the project even more special.

?It is not often that we can get such a great outcome from a difficult situation and it is all very ?green? as well.

?I would like to thank Fiona Damp for having the vision and the commitment to recycling to make this project a reality.?

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