A BENCH sculpted from a tree has been placed in Sutton Park in tribute to a woman from the village.

Mandy Hammond died last May after losing her battle against mental illness, and her friend Mary Lambert wanted to do something special to keep her memory alive.

Mary said: “We managed to raise £3,000 in just one week, following her death, so that we could provide  Mandy with a very special piece of artwork that would benefit the whole community.

“We contacted Sutton Parish Council, and they kindly authorised permission for a beautifully sculpted bench to take pride of place in Sutton Park.

“We wanted something that would reflect Mandy’s creativity too, as she was also an amazing artist, and would be something for not only her family and friends to remember her by, but that the whole community would enjoy. “

Tommy Craggs, an award-winning tree sculptor in Northumberland, was asked to sculpt the bench.

Mary said: “The bench features all the things in nature that Mandy loved, such as bees, hedgehogs, flowers, birds an snails, and was designed by my sister Sarah Pawson, a local artist.”

Mandy’s family is funding a raised flower bed with roses and red laburnum , with a plaque providing by the park.

Mandy, 34, lived in Cross Hills and had been friends with Mary, who lives in Cononley, since they were at school together.

Mandy’s sister Kerry Beck as also been working on a special project, entitled Mandy Rocks, where people design rocks in Mandy’s memory and hide them around the country; they have even travelled abroad! We have nearly 500 members now, and we’ve had so many positive responses to Mandy’s story, and have been able to reach out to people who also battle with mental health illnesses.”

Kerry said: “Mandy battled with her mental health since the age of 13. She never failed to brighten the lives of people around her, and in the community.

“The former teacher, specialising in art, decided in May of this year to take her own life. Wee decided that Sutton Park would be the perfect place for a bench, as it was her local park which she loved visiting with her son, Jack.

“Mandy would have been in awe and delight at this wondrous creation, made in her memory through the love and generosity of others.”