Starston, near Harleston, celebrates opening of community meadow

Sir David Attenborough praised a south Norfolk village which officially opened its community and wildlife meadow on Sunday.

About 150 people attended the opening ceremony at Glebe Meadow in Starston, near Harleston, which was performed by Professor Tim O'Riordan OBE, president of CPRE Norfolk and emeritus professor of environmental science at the University of East Anglia.

The Rev Norman Steer, in town crier costume, started proceedings with a ring of his bell. He then blessed the meadow, adding: 'We remind ourselves that we are wardens of the planet for generations to come.'

Then, Prof O'Riordan said: 'What makes this meadow special is that it is yours and your grandchildren's and great grandchildren's – a little piece of peace that you have set up. In years to come, the children now here will be able to walk among the trees.'

He highlighted the importance of the tropical rainforests to the planet and warned of the risk posed by the decline in bee populations.

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'If every community in Norfolk and the UK did what you have done here, we would all be in a much better place,' he said.

Michael Bartlett, chairman of the Starston Glebe Meadow Group, said David Attenborough had written to congratulate the village on 'such a splendid enterprise'.

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Villagers and businesses in Starston raised more than �10,000 to buy the meadow, which is now legally owned by the Jubilee Hall, and set to work putting in hedging plants and a footbridge, clearing the Beck and planting an orchard, mostly East Anglian heritage fruit varieties. Plans include nesting boxes and beehives.

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