Chatteris unveils bloomin’ tribute to stalwart Ormond Connolly

Chatteris in Bloom members unveil the Ormond Connolly memorial planter.
Chatteris in Bloom members unveil the Ormond Connolly memorial planter.

Chatteris has welcomed a blooming new addition to the town in memory of one of its greatest stalwarts.

The Ormond Connolly Memorial Planter has been unveiled to the community after 18 months in the planning.

Ormond, a founding member of Chatteris In Bloom and a volunteer for groups including the Christmas lights committee, passed away in May 2014 following an illness.

Chatteris In Bloom members wanted to do something to remember him and everything he did for the town, incorporating his love for gardening, art and steam trains.

Chatteris In Bloom vice-chairman Tina Prior said it was decided to make a planter based on a painting Ormond did of a train at Chatteris Railway Station, and former member Reg Tibbitts set out to see how it could be made.

The main barrel of the planter, which is now permanently situated on Huntingdon Road near the junction with Clare Street, was made by apprentices at Chatteris’s Stainless Metalcraft and the rest was completed by woodshop trainees at FACET, a centre for adults with learning disabilities in March.

Miss Prior said: “The project brought so many people together, it was a real community effort.”

“It’s such a lovely way to remember Ormond.

“He did so much for Chatteris In Bloom and the town’s Christmas lights. He was a real stalwart and we wanted to do something fitting to remember him. Although it was a massive project, it’s nothing compared to the amount of time, effort and resources he gave to the community and town of Chatteris.”

Chatteris In Bloom members had a stressful couple of hours getting the planter in place before its official unveiling, but the day was a great success.

More than 60 people attended, including Ormond’s friends and family, people he had worked with over the years and local dignitaries.

The Chatteris In Bloom committee and volunteers are now stepping up preparations in readiness for this year’s Anglia In Bloom judging, which is expected to take place on July 15.

The route judges will take has been finalised and in the next few weeks homeowners on the route will receive leaflets with advice on what they can do to help, such as sprucing up their front gardens and litter picking. Members will soon start planting beds and trusses and erecting hanging baskets, before beginning nightly plant-watering.

Anyone able to help, in any way, can contact Miss Prior on 07745 270118.