25th May 2022

Iconic benches starting conversations in SWT parks

Somerset West and Taunton Council has received two of the iconic benches being placed around the country in a campaign encouraging people to talk about grief.

The benches have been gifted to the Council by the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and Netflix to mark the launch of the third and final series of the hit show After Life.

They have been installed by our open spaces team at our green flag award winning parks in Blenheim Gardens, Minehead, and Vivary Park, Taunton.

A bench in the graveyard plays a pivotal part in After Life as the place where the central character Tony and his confidante Anne talk about their experience of grief.

Each donated bench is the same design as that featured in the show and has its own inspiring quote engraved on the top.  The benches are all etched with the crucial line from the show, “Hope is everything” – to help people have those conversations and show it’s normal to have those feelings.

Cllr Derek Perry, Executive Member for Sports, Parks and Leisure, said: “SWT appreciates how much these tranquil spaces are valued by our residents and visitors, particularly during the last two years when they have played a vital role as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely.

“We are committed to supporting people to live healthy lives and encouraging good mental health so are delighted to receive these benches which we hope will act as conversation starting points for those suffering with grief, helping them to get the support they need.

“We’re encouraging our communities to reflect and start that conversation in the beautiful surroundings of our award winning Vivary Park and Blenheim Gardens.”