Rose garden in Watton finally opens after community effort

The new Jubilee Garden opens in Watton - Mayor Beryl Bunning (right) opened the garden, watched by g

The new Jubilee Garden opens in Watton - Mayor Beryl Bunning (right) opened the garden, watched by guests and volunteers. Picture: Matthew Usher.

A community's four-year wait for a green space in its town centre has come to an end with the opening of a public garden.

The new Jubilee Garden opens in Watton - From right Megan Robinson (Tesco) and Sharon Clark (Norwich

The new Jubilee Garden opens in Watton - From right Megan Robinson (Tesco) and Sharon Clark (Norwich & Peterborough) planting a plant. Picture: Matthew Usher.

The Jubilee Rose Garden in Watton was named for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, but its opening never came to pass.

However, a three-month push by town councillors to finally get the garden in Thetford Road open came to fruition on Thursday evening as the gates were opened to the public.

Mayor of Watton Beryl Bunning said: 'It is absolutely worth the wait. The community have been absolutely fantastic, bringing rose bushes and working here.

'It is now open and the gate will not be locked at any time, so the public are welcome to come out and enjoy it.'

The opening ceremony was attended by Watton town councillors and residents, staff from Norwich and Peterborough Building Society who volunteered in the garden, and community champions from Tesco, who provided Prosecco and strawberries for the occasion.

Keith Gilbert, who with his partner Rita was instrumental in getting the garden renovated and opened, said: 'I am just overwhelmed at how the community has embraced this. The fact that people have volunteered to come and work in the garden is brilliant.'

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Mr Gilbert gave special mention to local couple Babs Muskett, who bought and planted 12 rose bushes in the garden, and her husband Colin, who built a number of wooden obelisks which have been placed in the flower beds.

He added: 'The women from the Norwich and Peterborough coming down seems to have inspired people and we hope that now we have benches in people will come in and relax, bring their lunch to eat here, and get involved in maintaining the garden.'

The land for the garden, used as an auctioneer's sale yard in the 1940s, was gifted to the town council several years ago by its owner Mary Jane Toulson.

Mrs Toulson, who lives in Walsham-Le-Willows in Suffolk, said: 'I think it is nice to have a bit of space in the middle of Watton that is not built on. The council have done a very good job. I hope it will grow beautifully.'

People are invited to come and stretch their green fingers in the rose garden, but are asked to first contact the town clerk on 01953 881007.

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