THE Mayor of South Ribble has officially unveiled a poignant new arts trail boasting more than 250 handmade butterflies at St Catherine’s Park.
The clay designs, sculpted and painted by talented students at Lostock Hall Academy, stretch from the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice to the striking new war memorial.
They are part of a larger project that includes a new events space, natural play area and new link paths in the park – which is part of the new Central Parks: the biggest new park to be created in the North West.
Councillor Phil Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Leisure at South Ribble Borough Council, said: “I am so pleased with the end result of the now completed arts trail.
“We’ve had helpers, young and old, all making a fantastic contribution to help transform a substantial area of the park.
“Yet again, this is a fine example of superb partnership working in South Ribble which help makes a real difference to our community.
“My thanks go to the Central ‘My Neighbourhood’ Forum, Lostock Hall Academy, City Deal, and South Ribble Partnership. I’d also like to thank the Mayor of South Ribble, Councillor Mick Titherington for officially opening the trail.”
To denote the start and finish of the trail, the Central My Neighbourhood Forum commissioned artist James Shelliker to carve in wood two installations: a butterfly and a kingfisher. The designs were influenced by the suggestions of Lostock Hall Academy pupils.
They chose the butterfly – to be found outside the Mill Café – due to St Catherine’s pre-existing affiliation with butterflies.
The idea for the kingfisher sculpture – to be found by the Inglis Bridge and the war memorial – came from pupil Lucie Finch, who used to watch the kingfishers with her late great uncle who was a patient at the hospice.
The trail, which starts at The Mill Café in the grounds of the hospice, has been funded by the Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal; South Ribble Partnership; and South Ribble Borough Council’s Central My Neighbourhood Forum.
The job of installing the butterflies was carried out by the Heaton Street Gardening Team at Brothers of Charity Services, and the Community Works Team at the borough council – with help from the Gardening Team from St Catherine’s.
County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Environment and Planning at Lancashire County Council, said: “City Deal continually looks to invest in and support local community projects that will grow our economy and, in this case, help raise the profile of – and money for – a really wonderful cause in St Catherine’s Hospice.
“After visiting the trail myself, I was very impressed by the beauty and simplicity of the concept – our thanks go to the children and teachers of Lostock Hall Academy for manufacturing 250 brilliant yellow butterflies.
“The arts trail as a whole – with its new events space, paths and play area – offers up plenty of new opportunities and will hopefully attract lots of new visitors, too.”