Children from schools across the District were invited to design their own Dream Garden, inspired by the extensive works taking place on the Deepdene Estate to restore the atmospheric, historic gardens. The new, free to enter walking Trail is just a fifteen minute stroll from Dorking's High Street and opened on 10th September 2016 with a Grand Opening Day, filled with music and family activities for all.
The winning entries of the competition for each age category were shortlisted by Mole Valley Youth Voice working closely with Dorking Decorative and Fine Arts Society (DDFAS) who sponsored the winners' prizes. The final judging decisions were made by local artist and the UK's leading Modern Impressionist, Sherree Valentine-Daines.
Councillor Vivienne Michael, Leader of Mole Valley District Council said, "This competition has inspired children across the District to imagine and design their very own Dream Garden. There have been some fabulously imaginative entries. We were delighted to receive such an impressive response with over 70 pieces of art submitted, from 18 different schools. We look forward to the Grand Opening of The Deepdene Trail on 10th September where everyone is welcome to come and enjoy a family day out exploring The Trail."
Andrea Gabb, Chair of DDFAS said, "Dorking Decorative and Fine Arts Society is a local arts appreciation society with over 300 members. It offers monthly lectures, visits and tours and is a friendly, welcoming group. One of its aims is to encourage Young Arts, and it is delighted to be associated with the Dream Garden Competition."
1st Prize, Natalie Joy Aldaz Gamarra aged 6
2nd Prize, Elsie Evans aged 6
3rd Prize, Joint winners, Esme Pritchett aged 7 and Sofia Hills aged 5
1st Prize, Avani Barhate aged 8
2nd Prize, Tabiana Fleming-Smith aged 11
3rd Prize, Thomas Anscombe aged 8
In addition to individual prizes the competition awarded a special prize to Leatherhead Trinity School, whose pupils sent in the most entries to the competition.
The winners received their prizes on The Deepdene Trail's Grand Opening Day, 10th September at 12.30pm, with prizes presented by Jane Bourgeois, Committee member of Dorking Decorative and Fine Arts Society.
The Trail is open to visitors from 10am for all to discover the stunning landscape views across Surrey, witness the surprising architectural features within the gardens and learn about the important role this estate's enigmatic owners once played in shaping international arts, architecture and design.
The winning works were also on display at Dorking Halls for one week in September 2016.