Tree sculpture takes root at Heatherslaw

Tom Woodcock inside the beech sculpture made by his father Geoff

Tom Woodcock inside the beech sculpture made by his father Geoff

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A tree sculpture carved out by the late Geoff Woodcock and donated to Ford and Etal Estates is proving a hit with visitors.

It was the last major sculpture completed by Geoff at his Slainsfield workshop before he passed away last year, aged 72.

His son, Tom, decided it should be put on public view in recognition of his dad’s efforts and it has now found a new home at Heatherslaw visitor centre.

“It’s become a real talking point for visitors and children especially love it,” said Tom, who runs Direct Pets in Berwick.

The beech tree was on Ford and Etal Estates and taken to Geoff’s workshop by Ford and Etal Sawmills.

“It took him about eight or nine months to carve it out,” revealed Tom. “The bottom part of it was completely rotten.”

Geoff initially taught art and crafts in Yorkshire, always making his own bits and pieces at home, but set up his own business making and restoring furniture in 1978.

When they retired, he and his wife, Janet, moved to Northumberland and Geoff started work on his scultpture and drawing again.

He loved working with wood and was constantly looking at the landscape around him. He always came back home with bags (or a car boot) full of driftwood, pebbles, sea-washed glass and beautiful objects to use in his sculpture.

He died shortly before an exhibition of his work was shown at Berwick Watchtower last summer.

Elspeth Gilliland, tourism manager at Ford and Etal Estates, said: “Geoff was such a lovely man, very much part of the community and part of the Estates.

“We were really honoured when Tom asked if we would like to have this sculpture and thought it would be a lovely way to remember Geoff and his work.

“It’s become a real focal point at Heatherslaw. Lots of visitors seem to like putting their head in it.

“There’s a huge fungus down at one end of the tree which also seems to grab people’s attention!”

Tom has just returned from doing the 200-mile Coast to Coast walk to raise funds for Berwick Animal Rescue Kennels and Arthurshiel rescue centre in St Boswells.

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