Old chestnut turned to new squirrels

When an old chestnut tree in the grounds of a Bembridge nursing home started dying, a plan was hatched to save it from the chop.

Instead of cutting down the tree, staff at The Elms contacted Isle of Wight wood carver Paul Sivell to see if he could turn it into a work of art instead.

He came to view the tree and after talking to staff, they decided the sculpture should consist of two red squirrels, celebrating the number of squirrels that visit the grounds of The Elms.

Once the plan was finalised, Mark Garrard, in charge of maintenance at The Elms, lopped the tree as required, then over three days, Paul carved the tree into the beautiful sculpture of two squirrels.

Glenda Reed of The Elms explained: “I knew Paul Sivell and thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for us to create a brand-new feature and talking point in our grounds.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the results and the residents think it is wonderful because it is probably the only one of its kind on the Island. They love to see it and show it to their visitors.”

The Elms is run by Hartford Care, a family-owned business that has been established for over a century.