Guests and town residents enjoyed a day of celebration to mark the reinstatement of Morpeth’s Floral Clock on Wednesday.
It included a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the feature in Carlisle Park, which was replanted earlier this month by a Northumberland County Council team, and a free public exhibition about the clock in the Town Hall.
Although it is one of only four floral clocks remaining in England, it was under threat before it was repaired by Smith of Derby as its hands had not turned for eight years and the box hedge numerals had blight.
When Barbara Ross started the campaign to raise £10,000 to save it last September, more than 900 members joining the Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock Facebook page proved that there was great public support and interest in the clock. A committee was then established.
There were donations from hundreds of people and grants from the William Leech Foundation, previous Mayor of Morpeth Coun Nic Best and local county councillors, among others.
Barbara said the campaign had ‘brought people together’ and she thanked all those who supported the project.
She added: “I feel really proud to be in this position today, especially as it has only been six months since we formed a constitution and set-up a bank account.
“The response from the people of Morpeth has been fantastic and it’s great that we’ve received some donations today because we will need to raise between £3,000 and £5,000 annually for on-going maintenance.
“The clock will look even more beautiful when the begonias fill out and the carpet bedding reddens up as the summer progresses.”
The floral clock was presented to the Borough of Morpeth in 1972 by James Fairbairn Smith, then of Detroit, USA, to commemorate Alderman Bertram Jobson’s four years of office as Mayor of the borough.
Coun Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services at the county council, said: “It has been a privilege for the council to play a small part in this and we hope that we can continue to help as time goes on.
“The people involved in the campaign have shown great drive and initiative to raise the required funds and it’s fantastic that Morpeth residents and visitors to the town can enjoy this beautiful floral clock as previous generations did.”
Morpeth North county councillor David Bawn said: "Thanks to the energetic and enthusiastic campaign by the Friends of Morpeth's Floral Clock, there is a real feeling of citizen engagement on this project and a sense of community ownership of the clock.
"It is wonderful to see the town coming together to achieve the restoration of a piece of our heritage and a heart-warming example of what can be accomplished.”
In addition, Royal Horticultural Society funding has enabled community outreach advisor Christine Wright to go into Morpeth First School, Goosehill Private Nursery and Chantry Middle School to speak to groups of pupils about gardening and give each of these children the same type of plant as one of those used in the floral clock to take home with them.