Fairmile Vineyard, clearly visible heading out from Henley on the A4310, and planted in 2013, will be picking its first harvest of grapes this month for turning into sparkling wine. Badgemore Primary School, in Henley, however became the recipients of an unexpected windfall. The vineyard maintains a copse of Scotch pine trees on site, a few of which have blown down in recent years. Whereas most are allowed to rot down and provide wildlife habitats for insects and small mammals, several fallen trunks are still in good condition. The vineyard has therefore been happy to donate the trunks to Badgemore, a Forest School, as raw material to build an out-sized story telling chair. On completion, it will be sited in their wonderful woodland setting to provide an additional element to fire the imagination of its pupils. The school, which had a very positive Ofsted inspection last term, has just gained a new wing that includes a spacious new hall and kitchen, and is fast being discovered by new parents despite its secluded location tucked in to a leafy corner beside the Friar Park estate.
The vineyard and school needed specialist skills and machinery to pull the trunks out from the copse and load them onto a trailer for removal to a local sawmill.
Jan Mirkowski, co-owner of Fairmile Vineyard, said: “I think this is a wonderfully creative example of private commerce helping to support the education of our school children. I am looking forward greatly to seeing the results of their finished carpentry!”
Tuc Ahmad, parent governor of Badgemore School, commented: “We are hugely appreciative of Fairmile Vineyard’s generosity. The copse is on a very steep and muddy incline and removing the trunks was no mean feat. Our chair will have quite a story to tell of it’s own on completion”