Parks and playgrounds  |  17 May 2024

The legacy lives on for fallen Hagley Park trees as local chairbler David Laird provides the timber a second life.

The ex-carpenter collects felled trees, pruned branches and timber that’s reached the end of its life and handmakes chairs and furniture in his home studio in Amberley.

His designs use only reclaimed timber grown in New Zealand, including the sought after English Elm, which is rarely found in the UK due to the effects of Dutch elm disease.

A Welsh stick chair, made from reclaimed timber including European white ash from Hagley Park, has been donated by David to the Friends of the Botanic Gardens.

David Laird's handmade Welsh stick chair, composed of five reclaimed timbers

“This chair is my interpretation of a High-back Welsh stick chair which is one of the earliest forms of Windsor chairs,” David says.

“Stick chairs are designed to outlast us all and are a permanent reflection of the land it came from. The chairs take their shapes from humble and local raw materials making each chair unique.”

The chair is composed of four further woods alongside the Hagley timber: London plane, European beech, White oak and English oak from Riccarton Avenue.

“We’re very grateful that David has generously donated this beautiful chair to the Friends,” says the Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens President Jane Cowan-Harris.

“We’re able to put money raised from chair straight back into the Gardens – completing a full cycle for the timber.

“Like we’ve previously done through ongoing successful fundraising, the money raised will help us fund another trainee to work within the Botanic Gardens, which is the most effective way of supporting the Gardens.”

The chair was sold by silent auction which ended on 30 April.

The Friends of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a not-for profit organisation, formed in 1989, who host a range of activities and events to connect the wider community to the Gardens and raise money to support projects and initiatives.

Find more information on how you can join and support the Friends here. View more David Laird designs here

Pictured above: Chairbler David Laird with successful chair bidder Diane Dewhurst.