Wallingford & Cholsey Railway

On Tuesday 11th October, The Mayor of Wallingford, Cllr Marcus Harris, unveiled a new bench at the Cholsey and Wallingford Railway and thanked craftsmen Pete Walker and David Williamson for their highest quality workmanship.

On Friday 4th November, the Town Council unveiled a new noticeboard in the Rest Garden in Wallingford’s Town Centre. Cllr Ros Lester, who initiated the project, thanked craftsmen Pete Walker, David Williamson and the artists Fay Ford, Mike Simmonds and Graham Hudson.

Lidl in Wallingford gave South Oxfordshire District Council funding as 106 arts money, to be used for seating in the immediate area and community use in publishing events.

As part of the Wallingford Arts Working Group, Cllr Ros Lester headed this project to enhance the link between Lidl and the Town Centre. Cllr Lester commissioned a local craftsman to design and make a bench to celebrate the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway, which is Lidl’s neighbour on St John’s Road.

Over a period of two years, the bench was created by craftsmen Pete Walker and David Williamson. Pete Walker took the design of the bench from an original bench in Cholsey station and built it using the highest quality oak. David Williamson carved two panels depicting the old bunk steam engine and a carriage, both delicately carved showing the minutest detail, which celebrates the history of the Cholsey & Wallingford Railway.

Lidl has kindly agreed that the bench should be given a safe home at the railway under the new canopy, which shelters it from the wet weather and means that the railway volunteers will be able to ensure it stays in a good condition.

This bench was the first half of the commission, with the noticeboard the second part.

The noticeboard displays a map of Wallingford which celebrates local businesses and iconic buildings in the town. The space around the map will be used to advertise community events to the public.

Pete Walker designed, made and installed the oak structure and Dave Williamson carved the text and intricate details on the noticeboard. The ceramic tiles were made by Graham Hudson and Mike Simmonds designed the drawings on them. Artist Fay Ford created the watercolour map of Wallingford which is displayed inside the noticeboard.

Photo credit: Stuart Emerson & Jennifer Green