What a difference 6 months makes!
Last December I was at St Nick’s (aka York Environment Centre) lamenting the demise of the much-loved York Rotters, as you can see below:
Today I was back at St Nicks (now minus apostrophe) for a much more upbeat occasion: a triple celebration!
We were celebrating the relaunch of the 16-year-old charity that is St Nicks (now aka ‘The Green Heart of York’) , celebrating 20 years of turning this former landfill into a wonderful green haven, and celebrating 10 years of its being designated a Local Nature Reserve.
The great and the good turned out for this occasion, and they were introduced by St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand:
Speeches were given by the MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley:
by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell:
by the Chief Officer of St Nicks, Tom Waring:
Oh, and by yours truly – in my role as a newly appointed Patron, no less:
I was ably assisted in my speech-giving by Bethany who, at the crucial moment, provided the ‘Ta Daa!’ moment, by unfurling (what we boldy claim to be) the world’s longest apple poem, written by visitors to St Nicks on Apple Day 2011:
I read out a portion of this poem at the end of my speech, as it – inadvertently – encapsulates the history of St Nicks, from a forgotten seed in a desolate landscape, to a richly biodiverse community hub.
After the speeches came green activities for all ages, including smoothie-making by pedal power:
and a tour of the Nature Reserve, led by my former English teacher Mrs Green. (Now there’s a terrifying thing – giving a speech with your former English teacher present!)
If you haven’t been to St Nicks yet, then I thoroughly recommend it. It will recharge you, body and soul. Today the chiffchaffs were singing, the newts were swimming in the pond, and there was delicious home-made cake to eat. What more could you ask for?