A flowering Japanese cherry tree has been planted at Cheslyn Gardens to commemorate Watford Mencap’s Diamond Jubilee.

It was donated by Watford Borough Council and on hand to perform the ceremony in brilliant sunshine on Thursday (September 29) was Watford Mayor, Dorothy Thornhill together with one of the youngest members of Watford Mencap’s Afterschool Club, Mariah Spenceley, and Sylvia Hatch, 70, whose father Charles Hatch was a founder member of Watford Mencap. Mariah, 5, is already quite a celebrity within Watford Mencap as she now features in a film about the organisation’s work. It can be viewed at http://www.watfordmencap.org.uk/parents_and_carers/children/.

Addressing the assembled members, staff and supporters the Mayor said: “It is fitting that you have chosen something that will last and endure, just like Watford Mencap.

“In recent years you have really upped your game and are now one of Watford’s best charities.”

In thanking the Mayor, Veronica Chamberlain, Funding Manager for Watford Mencap said: “We have enjoyed tremendous support from the Council and in particular the Mayor’s Community Fund.”

She also thanked Dave Jenkins, Parks Development Manager and his staff for the preparatory work in getting the garden ready to give the tree its new home.

Watford Mencap supports more than 500 people with a learning disability and their carers in South West Herts and turns over in excess of £2 million each year. More than 140 staff together with the same number of volunteers support people with a learning disability and their families from the cradle to the grave.

Veronica added: “When Watford Mencap began, people with a learning disability were put away in longstay institutions like Leavesden, Harperbury and Shenley and had little or no choice about anything.

“Today they make their own decisions about how they want to live their lives.”

Posted on Monday, 3rd October 2011