Dick King-Smith was the late local author to many much loved children’s books, such as the Fox Busters and The Sheep Pig (Babe). Last year (2019), the parish celebrated the life and works of the author with the Dick King-Smith themed scarecrow trail. This year, we have taken this celebration further and installed a more permanent commemoration: a stunning wooden bench carved by the talented Andy O’Neill of Wildwood Carving. The bench was inspired by the animals and characters from the authors novels.

Wood carver with the new bench which has animals carved into it
Wood Carver, Andy O’Neill, with the finished bench.

Tristan Clark, who is a councillor to both Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh Parishes, explained all, “Earlier this year, Westerleigh Parish Council and Frampton Cotterell Parish Council jointly commissioned wood sculptor, Andy O’Neill, to produce a bench commemorating the work of the much loved children’s author, Dick King-Smith. The author lived with his family at Woodlands farm for over a decade. We are happy to announce that the work has been completed this morning. Due to the current COVID restrictions, we sadly cannot hold a dedication ceremony at present but we hope you will join us sometime next year when we hope a member of the King-Smith family can join us to officially dedicate the new bench. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.”

Tristan Clark with the new bench which is made of wood with animals carved into it.
Cllr Tristan Clark visiting the new bench.

The King-Smiths lived on Woodlands Farm (near Blackberry Drive) between 1948 and 1961. The animals Dick cared for on this farm inspired many of the characters in his novels. These animals have been captured in this beautiful bench, and we hope you enjoy it for years to come. The bench is located just a stones throw away from Woodlands Farm in Blackberry Drive open space and is situated next to the boundary of Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell parishes.

Thank you to all of the volunteers, councillors and officers who supported this project and to Westerleigh Parish for the joint commission. Finally, a huge thank you to Andy O’Neill for creating the beautiful carved commemorative bench.

“Often, in my dreams, we are still at our first farm, Woodland’s Farm.” -Dick King-Smith, 2001.