'A fabulous asset' - town centre pocket park finally opens

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

The Dereham community came out in force for the grand opening of an eagerly awaited pocket park. 

Dozens gathered in the town centre on Saturday, September 11, as the Ellenor Fenn Garden was finally unveiled. 

Matthew Jervis, from EG Grounds Care, shows youngsters how to plant at Ellenor Fenn Garden

Matthew Jervis, from EG Grounds Care, shows youngsters how to plant at Ellenor Fenn Garden - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

The site, off Wright's Walk, had been empty scrubland concealed by unsightly blue hoardings for 16 years

But, keen to give the space a much-needed new lease of life, various organisations have come together in recent months to kick-start a dramatic transformation.

They include the aboutDereham Partnership, Dereham Baptist Church and commercial property company Dencora.

Paul Hewett, Breckland Council’s executive director for projects, said the new facility would be a "fabulous asset to the town".

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

He added: "It’s amazing what can be achieved when various organisations work together, and it is great to see a community celebrate a brighter future.

"Right in the heart of Dereham, I hope the Ellenor Fenn Garden will become a fantastic space for residents and visitors to relax in while visiting."

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Ellenor Fenn was a prolific 18th century educationalist, who spent much of her life in Dereham.

She wrote a number of children's books and established a Sunday school which had more than 100 pupils. Two hundred years after her death, Lady Fenn was finally recognised with a Blue Plaque in 2013. 

Joyce Miller, 91, give a rousing rendition of her poem 'Wake up Britain' at the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Joyce Miller, 91, give a rousing rendition of her poem 'Wake up Britain' at the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

As well as providing a green space, Dereham's new pocket park boasts a performance area where live entertainment can be hosted in years to come - hopefully boosting footfall in the process. 

Saturday's launch also saw Joyce Miller, 91, give a rousing rendition of 'Wake up Britain’, the poem she wrote at the end of lockdown to stir the country into rediscovering itself.

Justin Dack, a well-known community champion, said it was crucial for local people to take pride in their town.

“It’s great to see the garden completed," he said. "It’s a nice place to come and sit and pause a while.

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham

Dozens attended the opening of Ellenor Fenn Garden in Dereham - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

"Dereham needs to keep regenerating its public spaces and encouraging residents to be proud of them."

The aboutDereham Partnership will oversee events in the garden, while Dencora will handle bookings and scheduling. 

If you or a community group would like to host an event, call Dencora on 07394 564499.

Bug hotels, made by Dereham Men's Shed, have been placed in the garden to encourage local wildlife

Bug hotels, made by Dereham Men's Shed, have been placed in the garden to encourage local wildlife - Credit: Keith Mindham Photography

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