Local housebuilder helps to fund new gazebo at St Julian’s Wood

A housebuilder in South Marston is helping to replace a gazebo at St Julian’s Community Woodland in the village.

The wooden structure, which belonged to Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, was built just under five years ago but was destroyed in an arson attack in June earlier this year.

Bellway South West – which is building new homes at Vicarage Gardens, off Old Vicarage Lane in the village – has donated £400 towards a community appeal to replace the gazebo with a new fire-proof metal structure and event space.

The gazebo was used by South Marston Primary School to provide students with a natural outdoor learning setting, with space for 25 young children.

The space was also used by families from the village for small parties and quiet retreats during lockdown, with some village students using it as a peaceful location to study for their exams.

Seasonal events such as Easter egg hunting and pumpkin carving, as well as woodland crafts and private parties, were also hosted there.

South Marston parish councillor Barry Thunder said: “We decided to approach Bellway to see if they would be happy to help with funding, as they are providing new homes in the village.

“The gazebo was much loved and used by many local people over the years, and it is something that we are passionate about restoring for the community.

“It has been a particularly difficult time to raise money during lockdown, and we are very grateful for Bellway’s kind donation as it is a great encouragement to the whole community here in South Marston.”

Sales Manager for Bellway South West, Christel Hawkins, said: “As a housebuilder, it is very important for us to support communities where we are building our homes in any way that we can.

“When we were approached by the parish council, we were keen to help as it is clear to see how important this wonderful structure was to many residents here. We really hope the new event space will help make a difference for village residents for years down the line.”

The parish council has also recently raised £5,000 to upgrade the village War Memorial site, with ceramic paving installed to make Remembrance events more accessible in all weathers.

To donate towards the installation of the new and improved structure at St Julian’s Woodland, visit wiltshirewildlife.org/Fundraisers/st-julians.

For more information on the two, three, and four-bedroom homes being built at Vicarage Gardens, call 01793 352658 or visit bellway.co.uk.