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Bench installed at the White Lion pub in Whissendine is tribute to NHS heroes and keyworkers during coronavirus pandemic

A diseased holly tree has been carved into a stunning bench paying tribute to NHS staff and keyworkers.

Yolanda Rees and Chris Stevenson, the landlords at the White Lion Inn in Whissendine, were approached in the autumn by a resident living in the village.

He asked if they would accept a bench in tribute to their work in the village, running a takeaway service and delivering prescriptions and shopping to those who could not get out, or who were shielding.

Yolanda Rees with Chris Stevenson with the bench for NHS heroes at The White Lion in Whissendine. Photo: Alan Walters
Yolanda Rees with Chris Stevenson with the bench for NHS heroes at The White Lion in Whissendine. Photo: Alan Walters

The couple were taken aback by the gesture and agreed that the bench could be sited in the pub’s beer garden.

When the bench was delivered, they were stunned by its quality.

“I really thought it was going to be like a picnic bench,” laughed Yolanda.

“But when it arrived, I was absolutely gobsmacked. It is really gorgeous and individual.”

“I don’t think we deserve it, so I think to have the wording on there for the NHS heroes and the keyworkers is perfect.”

The bench is engraved with ‘thank you NHS & key workers’ and has a small plaque paying tribute to Yolanda and Chris.

The plaque’s inscription finishes by saying: ‘The bench is a reminder to us all to keep safe and look forward to again enjoying the many pleasures of and friendships of living in Whissendine when Covid-19 is finally beaten.’

“We have people who work for the NHS who live in the village and what they do is incredible.

“They deserve it more than we do, it’s nice to have that recognition for them in the village,” said Yolanda.

At the moment the bench is under a veranda while the wood dries out but Yolanda said she is looking forward to it having pride of place in the garden when the pub is finally able to reopen.

The couple have been landlords at the village pub for about eight years and have got to know many people in the village during that time.

But Yolanda said friendships had not only been cemented but also grown as the couple have got to know people who would not normally visit the pub.

During all the lockdowns they have run a takeaway service several days a week with Yolanda in the kitchen cooking the food and Chris making deliveries to anyone unable to collect their meals themselves.

“When people have rung for their takeaway orders or if they have needed something, I’ve just spent five minutes on the phone asking how they
are and if they have got everything they need,” Yolanda said.

“I think it’s made a big difference.”

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