Stunning Sculpture Takes Pride of Place in Heritage Wood

Picture shows, from left: Bec Wathall, the sixth generation to work at the family-owned funeral directors, Fay Bloor and Neil Beresford holding the Shrovetide ball that his father goaled in 1949

Ashbourne Dandelions bereavement support group, which meets every month in the town centre to help people who have lost a loved one, has erected a six foot stainless steel dandelion sculpture in Heritage Wood at Ednaston.

Ashbourne Dandelions is run by family-owned funeral directors Wathall’s in Union Street and meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the Cornerstone Café.

The group decided to commission the sculpture following a £670 donation from the Shrovetide Dance Committee and a personal donation from a part-time funeral bearer at Wathall’s – Neil Beresford.

Wathall’s bereavement support coordinator Fay Bloor explained: “The Ashbourne Dandelions group wanted to spend the money donated on something special that many other people could enjoy.

“Heritage Wood is a popular place to plant a tree and visit to remember loved ones who have passed away.

“In partnership with Heritage Wood, we have erected the beautiful sculpture in a clearing surrounded by benches so people can take a quiet moment of reflection to be with their thoughts and memories.

“We are very grateful to the Shrovetide committee and to Neil who have made this sculpture possible.”

Mr Beresford, who grew up in Ashbourne and now lives in Heanor, added: “I have worked on a casual basis for Wathall’s for three years now and I love my job.

“I officiated at a funeral service for a member of my family and did not feel it appropriate to be paid for this, so donated the money to Ashbourne Dandelions.

“I was delighted when I heard that this would be put towards the Shrovetide Dance Committee’s donation for the dandelion sculpture.

“My father, Arthur, was an Up’ard and earnt his ball in 1949. The tale goes, he hid in the old railway yard and then sneaked it in a sack of straw up to Sturston Mill where he slid down the grain shoot and goaled the ball on the mill axel, which is what they did in those days.”

Ashbourne Dandelions is free to attend and open to everyone - regardless of whether they have used Wathall’s services or not.

Helen Wathall, Managing Director of Wathall’s and the fifth generation of the family to run the company, concluded: “Bereavement can be both isolating and lonely so we set up the Ashbourne and Derby Dandelions groups to provide a safe place for people to share their grief and to encourage new friendships supported by our trained facilitators.”

For more information about Ashbourne Dandelions please visit or call 01332 345268.

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