Friendship benches prove a sitting tribute to community that is coping with Covid

Honiton Hospital & Community League of Friends unveil one of three new rainbow friendship benches

Honiton Hospital & Community League of Friends unveil one of three new rainbow friendship benches, this one at Allhallows in the town - Credit: Vernon Whitlock

Whilst much of the regular work of Honiton Hospital & Community League of Friends has been put on hold due to current circumstances, the committee members wanted to find a way to pay tribute to all members of this community who have supported each other in one way or another through the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the aid of a grant from councillor Phil Twiss’s Devon County Council locality budget, it was decided to commission three Rainbow Friendship Benches and place them in various locations around the town. 
League of Friends’ champion Heather Penwarden explained: “The first bench in the grounds of the hospital is dedicated to all staff working out of Honiton Hospital in thanks for the care they have given us through the time of this pandemic.  
“The second bench provides a respite place for those on foot going up to the hospital.  It can be found  just opposite the railway station and pays tribute to all the key workers, volunteers and unpaid carers. 
“The third bench is on Allhallows Playing Field and recognises all members of the community of Honiton who have supported each other through the Covid-19 pandemic 2020/2021.”
Heather added: “Coming out of lockdown it is hoped that these benches will provide a safe space for you  to reconnect with friends and family and maybe offer the opportunity to sit with someone you don’t know and just pass the time of day.”
For those interested in learning more about the work of Honiton Hospital & Community League of Friends they will be holding their AGM on Zoom on Tuesday, May 18 at 5.30pm. Guest speakers will be Fay Valentine, Honiton’s Admiral Nurse and Sarah-Lou Glover from Parental Minds, both of whom the Friends have supported in their valuable work through the past year. 
Heather said: “We have one place on the committee if anyone would like to join us and take a more active role.”
To secure a place or ask for a chat about the committee position please email to

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