Year 9 students from Harrow Way Community School recently joined children from Portway Junior School for the unveiling of the Skye Orchard mosaic, an initiative of Transition Town Andover. 15 students from Harrow Way and Portway gathered with Sir George Young, the Worshipful the Mayor of Test Valley, Councillor Mrs Dorothy Baverstock, and other guests as Councillor West officially opened the orchard.

During the last year artist Joanna Dewfall has been working with 200 students from the schools to create the 2m x 1m mosaic, the design for which was inspired by student’s artwork together with words, poems and memories from local families and members of the community. Some of these poems and memories were read out during the unveiling. The students also brought along with them written ‘wishes’ for the orchard which were handed out to be tied to the fence around the mosaic.

Skye Orchard is one of the initiatives led by Transition Town Andover. Their aim is to reduce Andover’s dependency on fossil fuels and to help the local community build resilience by being resourceful and preparing for the future. Carol Bartholomew, chair of Transition Town Andover said: “I have to thank Councillor Pat West, who has made the mosaic possible by generously funding the project and Joanna Dewfall, the mosaic artist. Thank you to Test Valley Borough Council for all their support from the beginning of the community orchard.”

The orchard was named after Skye and originally included a tree which has been planted in her memory. Very sadly this tree was subsequently damaged by vandals but children from Portway Juniors are organising a collection to purchase a new commemorative tree which will be planted at the end of the month. Donations can be made at any of the three schools and should be marked ‘Skye Orchard.’

Laurinda Henderson, Harrow Way Art Technician concludes: “Being involved in this project has provided our students with numerous learning opportunities. Not only have they spent time working alongside a renowned mosaic artist but they have learned about the important work of Transition Town Andover and seen the benefit and value of a community working together.”

In addition to the Community Skye Orchard there are a number of projects that sit under the umbrella of Transition Town Andover. Andover Trees United, have secured nursery beds in schools across the town. The trees, planted by students, are being planted in Andover’s very own woodland. There are also the food beds at Vigo Park, planted with raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, herbs, chard and apples, all of which are available for the local community to pick, consume and enjoy.