Kenilworth pupils enjoy new ‘friendship bench’ to mark Lions International’s 100th year

The bench and tree in St John's School's playground. Back row from left: Richard Short, Henry Woodgate, Brian Heath, Cllr Kate Dickson, Phil Inshaw, Dave Maxted, Bill Wanley, Bill Davies. Front row from left: Katie and Bruno from All Saints, William and Izzy from Priors Field, Poppy and Ellire from St Nicholas, Chloe and Ollie from Park Hill, Rebecca and Finn from Clinton, Sam and Lily from St Johns
The bench and tree in St John's School's playground. Back row from left: Richard Short, Henry Woodgate, Brian Heath, Cllr Kate Dickson, Phil Inshaw, Dave Maxted, Bill Wanley, Bill Davies. Front row from left: Katie and Bruno from All Saints, William and Izzy from Priors Field, Poppy and Ellire from St Nicholas, Chloe and Ollie from Park Hill, Rebecca and Finn from Clinton, Sam and Lily from St Johns

A special ‘friendship bench’ was officially opened around a newly planted tree at St John’s Primary School in Kenilworth today (July 13) to mark Lions International’s 100th year.

The bench and tree is one of eight such installations made at Clinton, Park Hill Junior, Thorns Infant, St Nicholas, Priors Field, St Augustine’s, All Saints, and Leek Wootton Primary Schools to mark the milestone.

Members of Kenilworth Lions and children from many of the schools came to see the tree and sit on the bench as town mayor Cllr Kate Dickson officially opened it.

She thanked the Lions for their hard work in getting the trees planted and the benches built, and said: “As we look to the future I think this is an excellent way of marking the past.

“The Lions do an awful lot for the community, and they’re really good at involving everybody.”

The former president of Kenilworth Lions, Phil Inshaw, explained each Lions group around the world was tasked with marking the organisation’s 100th anniversary in some way.

Kenilworth decided to try and involve the schools and the environment, and came up with the trees and benches idea.

Phil said: “We were trying to think how we were going to celebrate this special year.

“One idea was to support our youth in the community, and also to protect and improve our environment. The two things go together very well.”

The benches face inwards towards the trees so pupils will be able to see it when they sit, and the shape of the bench encourages pupils to talk to each other more than a regular bench might.

The trees were supplied by Hintons Nursery in Guys Cliffe, and Warwick Tree Wardens helped the Lions plant the trees.