This week I interviewed Jane Hutcheon of Hay Lane Flowers as she prepared to install the best Christmas decoration Bedford – or indeed most towns – could imagine.
The four-metre-wide wreath, commissioned by Bedford BID, is the second such installation Jane has created. She was also behind the ‘floral flash’ at the Silver Faces earlier in the year.
Both are public art pieces, but they were also to raise awareness of local businesses – firstly sustainable local flower growers and this month, Small Business Saturday.
As you can imagine, building a four-metre-wide wreath is not something you just knock up in an afternoon.
The bespoke metal framework needs to be designed and fabricated, the foliage gathered from other local independent suppliers (How Hill Holly Farm, Hay Lane Flowers and Stagsden Christmas Trees) and then it’s got to be carefully loaded onto a truck, transported to its final destination and installed at a time to cause the least inconvenience (6am).
Following the dawn installation, Jane sent me a photo of the completed wreath which I shared on the Bedford Independent’s Facebook page.
I sent Jane a text to thank her for speaking to me and to let her know the post was getting a lot of love from our readers.
“It fills me with hope that people will realise what our town could be if we all put a little bit of effort in and take a bit of responsibility ourselves,” replied Jane.
And I couldn’t agree more.
From organising jam nights to Jumble Trails, community litter picks to creative advent windows (I’m looking at you, George Street and Stagsden) and multi-cultural parades to municipal Warm Spaces, we can all make a difference to our communities by getting involved.
Of course, the far easier option is to sit at your keyboard and complain on social media that everything’s rubbish, nothing ever happens and that it’s all somebody else’s fault.
By not giving something a go, you cannot fail.
By not sticking your head above the parapet, you can’t be criticised.
By not being part of the solution, you are ultimately part of the problem.
Thankfully in Bedford, the vocal local naysayers might be loud (and predictable), but they are outnumbered by the people willing to volunteer their time, go the extra mile, share their creativity, open unique businesses and invest their energy into creating a town that we can all be proud of.
And Bedford is all the better for it.