Naval links bloom at anniversary

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Naval links have been at the heart of the 30th anniversary of Wetherby in Bloom.

The Town Council chose last weekend’s celebration of the treasured group to thank those who helped move the anchor to its new location at the Cluster of Nuts nniversary garden.

“What started with an individual’s desire to preserve an item of nautical and town history turned in to a rather more spectacular project,” said town clerk Iona Taylor.

“Moving an object as large as the anchor is no mean feat and it’s taken a real team effort to get it to its new, permanent home.”

She added: “When local legend John Trower approached the Town Council in 2018, he was pleased to find that members of the Property Committee had an interest in maintaining Wetherby’s historical connection with the Royal Navy and together they set about moving it from its former home at The Wetherby Social Club.”

John, of the Old Men’s Parliament, had helped to salvage the anchor from Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands and brought it to Wetherby.

Permission was given by Leeds City Council to locate the anchor on land near the coach drop-off point at the Cluster of Nuts car park - the nearest site to the former HMS Ceres (Moorland) naval base.

HMS Ceres was the Royal Navy’s largest land based ‘ship’, located on the site of Wetherby High School, and was used as a supply and secretariat base by the Royal Navy from 1942 to 1958.

Iona explained that the Old Men’s Parliament paid for Wetherby Skip Services Ltd to move the anchor, putting it on a base prepared by the Council’s Town Handyman.

“It became clear that some TLC was required to make the anchor look good and so Rob from Aquascapes & Landscaping Ltd stepped in to start the beautification process, donating their time free of charge to install a border and gravel surround,” added Iona.

“An anchor in the middle of a landlocked town could look a bit odd and so Coun Victor Hawkins, also a member of Wetherby Civic Society, designed an interpretation board to help visitors and residents understand the anchor’s history and Wetherby’s connection.”

Wetherby in Bloom worked on the garden around the anchor.

“It now provides a fitting welcome to visitors whether arriving by coach or car,” added Iona.