ADORNED in hand-carved depictions of wildlife, including a badger, otter, heron and salmon, an oak tree gifted by a resident of Riding Mill has been transformed into a decorative seat and unveiled the mark the completion of a trail-blazing community housing scheme in Stocksfield.

Weighing in excess of two tonnes, the seat now provides a resting place on a footpath near the Stocksfield Burn, which runs past six of seven homes built in a partnership between Stocksfield Community Association Trading Arm (SCATA) and Isos Housing. 

The £900,000 development was supported by grant funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and won a National Housing Award last month. 

Stonehaugh-based sculptor Luca Serra spent three months analysing drawings and models created by Year Four children from the village‘s Broomley First School before bringing them to life on the bench.

At a special event on Monday the youngsters were among the first to see his finished work in situ.

Luca’s dedication to the project was documented by 15-year-old Quetta McNeill, from Hexham, daughter of SCATA‘s social enterprise advisor, Anne Lawson.

A video capturing key moments in the process, shot and edited by the talented teenager, has already by viewed dozens of times on You Tube.

The soundtrack is original music provided by the Stocksfield Stompers.

Pick up this week's Courant for the full story and watch Quetta's video below.