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'Happy to Chat' bench unveiled in Downham Market, as a place for people to talk about mental health




The High Sheriff of Norfolk Michael Gurney was in attendance today to open a brand new bench in Downham today.

The bench, called the "Happy to Chat" bench sits in a newly decorated garden, full of locally produced plants that help with mental health - such as lavender.

Councillor Becky Hayes said before the ribbon cutting: "As a nurse who's worked in mental health this project is especially important for me.

The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707274)
The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707274)
The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707283)
The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707283)

"This is a place for people to come if they want to, just to talk about things and enjoy the garden, we've all suffered from mental health through the pandemic so it's important to talk if you need to."

The former mayor and mayor Jenny Groom joined Mr Gurney in cutting the ribbon and sat on the bench together.

Mr Gurney said: "I'm a thorn between two roses!" much to the amusement of onlookers.

"A thorn between two Roses" Credit Steven Hewitt (51707280)
"A thorn between two Roses" Credit Steven Hewitt (51707280)

Councillors and members of the public were in attendance and enjoyed refreshments provided by local businesses.

An onlooker said: "It's a simple but lovely idea, it's nice to see the council thinking of mental health - but I hope it doesn't end up just another place for people to sit and drink as the garden is so pretty."

In recent weeks, members of the council have been seen tending to the new garden personally with rakes.

The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707271)
The opening of the 'Happy to Chat' bench in Downham with High Sheriff Michael Gurney, Mayor Jenny Groom and Councillor Becky Hayes (51707271)
The public were in attendance for the opening of the bench Credit Steven Hewitt (51707263)
The public were in attendance for the opening of the bench Credit Steven Hewitt (51707263)
Former Mayor Becky Hayes makes a speech Credit Steven Hewitt (51707250)
Former Mayor Becky Hayes makes a speech Credit Steven Hewitt (51707250)
Mayor Jenny Groom Credit Steven Hewitt (51707243)
Mayor Jenny Groom Credit Steven Hewitt (51707243)


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