Wood from old oak tree put to creative use

Eldest resident Margaret Rowley (seated on the chair)  with officials from Abbeyfield Chichester, along with John Groves, instructor for Wood@aldingbourne Instructor, and Alistair Riddell, Chris Booker, Gary Williams and Andrew Benham (Aldingbourne) who helped collect the tree.

Eldest resident Margaret Rowley (seated on the chair) with officials from Abbeyfield Chichester, along with John Groves, instructor for Wood@aldingbourne Instructor, and Alistair Riddell, Chris Booker, Gary Williams and Andrew Benham (Aldingbourne) who helped collect the tree.

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WHEN an old and decaying oak tree needed to be cut down in the grounds of a Chichester sheltered housing scheme, Abbeyfield Chichester, the quest was on to find a place were the tree’s beautiful wood could be put to good use.

Margaret Rowley, the oldest resident at another of Abbeyfield charity’s homes, Oakshade House, came to the rescue when she heard about the plight. Margaret’s son Brian Rowley works at Aldingbourne Trust, which supports adults with learning difficulties to develop skills leading to employment opportunities. Through Wood@aldingbourne, a social enterprise of the trust, they collect waste wood and recycle it into top quality furniture or gifts sold through the centre’s gift shop.

Helen Griffin, general manager of Abbeyfield Chichester, said she was delighted to find a new home for the tree.

“This is a fantastic donation, which we appreciate very much and we would like to thank Abbeyfield for thinking of us,” said enterprise and development manager for the Trust, Michelle Mckinley Bell.

Helen said, “We will certainly be on the lookout to try and purchase a finely crafted piece made from the old oak tree to stand in pride of place in our house in Market Street, which is appropriately called Oakshade.” She said a new oak would be planted soon to continue to provide that shade for their residents in the future.