A GOOD samaritan with a love of woodwork came to the rescue of a popular public viewing spot in Hexham.

A public bench located high up Causey Hill Road, near its junction with Yarridge Road, offers glorious views across the town and the Tyne Valley.

But the wooden seat had become weathered to the point that much of it was rotten beyond repair, and while the structure remained intact, there was no platform to sit on.

The plight of the seat, understood to have been originally erected in memory of a former resident, was highlighted on social media.

The Hexham Matters page on Facebook was inundated with suggestions about how a revamp of the seat could be financed.

Out of the blue, however, images of the newly repaired bench appeared, with praise for the good samaritan responsible.

It became known as the anonymous bench fairy project, but it was soon established that the bench fairy in question was Hexham resident Neil Hemmings, who had seen the initial social media posting, and acted.

“It was my pleasure,” said Neil. “It wasn’t a big job and I knew it would be for the benefit of people out walking to rest and enjoy the views.”

Neil, a retired teacher, said he was inspired by a postcard he once received which included the words ‘practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty’.

Aware of the seat and the location as a result of walking in the area himself, Neil decided to put his woodwork hobby to good use.

He spent a grand total of £10 on a few slats of wood, which he added to a few recycled scraps from his garage.

“I assessed the bench,” he explained: “Some of it could be retained while other parts needed to be replaced.

“Some of the decrepit parts which had fallen off were still lying around the bench, and I was able to use these as templates to make new pieces.”

A few screws and a bit of glue, and the anonymous bench fairy project was complete.

“It’s lovely that people appreciate it,” said Neil. “I hope everyone gets years of enjoyment out of it.”