St Nicks – then and now

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:

St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand introducing the speakers at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

St Nicks Chair Yashpal Anand introducing the speakers at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

Speeches were given by the MP for York Central, Hugh Bayley:

Hugh Bayley MP speaking at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Hugh Bayley MP speaking at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

by the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell:

Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell, speaking at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Julie Gunnell, speaking at St Nicks, 10 May 2014

by the Chief Officer of St Nicks, Tom Waring:

St Nicks' Chief Officer Tom Waring gives his speech

St Nicks’ Chief Officer Tom Waring gives his speech, 10 May 2014

Oh, and by yours truly – in my role as a newly appointed Patron, no less:

St Nicks Patron Anneliese Emmans Dean gives a speech at St Nicks, 10.5.14

Giving my first speech as a Patron of St Nicks, 10 May 2014

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:

Bethany unfurls The World's Longest Apple Poem, written by visitors to St Nicks' Apple Day 2011

Bethany unfurls The World’s Longest Apple Poem, written by visitors to St Nicks’ 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.

(from left) The Lord Mayor of York, me, Hugh Bayley MP, and Tom Waring admiring (what could be) the world's longest apple poem

(from left) The Lord Mayor of York, me, Hugh Bayley MP, and Tom Waring of St Nicks admiring (what could be) the world’s longest apple poem, 10 May 2014

After the speeches came green activities for all ages, including smoothie-making by pedal power:

Making smoothies with pedal power! St Nicks, 10.5.14

Making smoothies with pedal power – as invented by Alfred Chow.  St Nicks, 10.5.14

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!)

Mrs Green leads a tour of St Nicks, 10.5.14

Mrs Green leads a tour of St Nicks, 10 May 2014

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?

Anneliese Emmans Dean – theBigBuzz.biz – Bringing poetry to life

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