Monday 7th November 2022
Report written by Laura Williams
Not only was it dark, it was windy and, by the time we were well on our way to last night’s task, it was exceptionally wet too.
Hey-ho. Lucky it takes more than a bit of rain to dampen a GoodGymer’s spirits.
And so we congregated, one by one, under the arch at St Leonard’s Priory, in Bromley-By-Bow.
Why were we here?
St Leonard’s Priory Park is a community led project with Bow Church, its parishioners and local residents. The site boasts a hefty 1000 years of history that is slowly being revitalised by locals.
The weekly gardening volunteer group make a good dent in the large amount of work that is required to transform this space into a well-used resource and haven, but tonight a large-ish group of GoodGymers came in very handy shifting rubble and wood to make way for a new hedge.
After task owner Larry offered us a bit of background to the project and the site, along with instructions and the relevant health and safety info, we proceeded to spread out along the area in front of the large wall at the back of the park.
Our job was to clear this area of the large amount of rubble, weeds, wood and litter that’s currently occupying this space.
It was a challenging task initially, setting up lights and figuring out where to work in the dark and wind, but soon the rain stopped, conditions calmed, and all became clear.
GoodGymers worked both solo and in pairs, filling wheelbarrows with rubble; tackling weeds, and lugging logs and large bags of weeds to their dedicated piles in the corner of the garden.
To say this was a physical task was an understatement.
But, as we reflected throughout the evening, also an enormously rewarding one, as we worked lats and quads, squatting down to hurl another large brick onto the pile.
In no time at all, the area began to resemble a nice open space, all ready for a hedge.
We decided to call it a day a little before 8, leaving a good-sized area for our return visit in a fortnight.
With barrows returned; tools stacked and a final picture posed for, we left Larry to re-stack the shed, already excited for our return and another fun, bracing workout in this magical space.
At next week’s Monday activity, we enjoy a picturesque, after-dark workout at Victoria Park’s beautiful Bonner Gate, before heading to Globe Town for a little light leafleting activity.
Bow Church parishioners, residents and small, local community organisations are gradually developing what was the Cemetery at St Leonard’s Priory into a small park. It is hoped that an increasing number of local residents will be encouraged to not only enjoy the open space, along with the history of the site, throughout the year, but also explore volunteering opportunities too. Garden volunteers from the local church community have been working with Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park to tidy up the space and make it more accessible. Part of the regeneration plan will involve the inclusion picnic benches to establish a seating area for community activities, as well as for people to sit and enjoy the garden.See more