AN ancient tree that has stood in the grounds of the Stourhead estate for 250 years is to be transformed into a sculpture to stand in the grounds of Frome Community College.
The college, working with Azeema Caffoor of Young People Frome and the National Trust in Stourhead, are collaborating on the sculpture proposed by Frome artist Barry Cooper to be sited on the edge of the playing field beside the Bath road entrance to the school.
The 20 tonne, 80 foot tall Oak tree fell on the Stourhead estate in Turner’s paddock by the lower lake just below the main gardens in January 2013. Apart from diseased roots the tree is in perfect condition and has now had all the broken branches removed.
The proposal is to resurrect this tree on the Frome Community College site as a symbol of aspiration for young people.
Mr Cooper said: “Oak trees are the bearers of dreams – lovers carve their names into them, swings are suspended from them, their branches reach out towards the sky. They outlive us, yet we can see in them many aspects of the human condition: growth, renewal, ageing and disease.”
The principal Gavin Ball has met Kim Portnell, warden of the National Trust in Stourhead and Angela Yeoman to discuss this project and they have both been very enthusiastic.
Lisa Millard, assistant head at the college, has put together a comprehensive educational programme for young people at the college and set up a blog. This programme was shown to Ofsted during their recent inspection.
Last Tuesday the National Trust estate moved the tree from the location where it fell to a position by the roadway in Turner’s Paddock. In 1798 this tree was in a painting by JMW Turner when it was 30 years old. Over the next year in Stourhead young people, will be working with sculptor Anthony Rogers, Mr Cooper, and Young People Frome to debark the tree; inscribing the ancient oak with their ‘dreams’, before erecting in Frome during July/August 2015.
Fundraising is under way, and civil engineer Mike Swanson is preparing an overall budget. The college is investigating the need for planning permission.
Mr Cooper added: “We would welcome ideas or support for this ambitious project from any young person in the Frome community who might be willing to assist or take part.