Charity champion's dream comes true as unique 'friendship bench' she raised money for unveiled at popular Burnley and Padiham walking spot
The eye catching bench was installed on the Padiham Greenway, close to Shakespeare Street last week, and aims to be a place of retreat for people if they need to speak to someone or simply want to be on their own to gather their thoughts.
Made of steel and vandal proof materials, Viv raised the grand total of £3,000 for the bench through raffles and football cards and she also completed a 32 mile walk, non stop, for 11 hours and five minutes on the Greenway which was created on the former derelict railway line.
She was spurred on by family, friends and other walkers who completed miles with Viv and kept her supplied with drinks and snacks.
Viv said: "The whole community has helped to make the friendship bench come true and I want to thank everyone who supported me, especially Brian Wright of Burnley who, when he found out what I was doing, turned up and walked 26 miles with me.
"I don't think I could have done it without him."
Pupils from schools in Padiham were asked to come up with creative ideas for the bench and students at Padiham Green Primary painted pebbles installed in the arms of the bench with a series of inspirational and positive words on them. The steel back is curved so that if two people sit on it they are facing each other.
Viv, who is the founder of Padiham Community Choir and Hugs For Free, added: "The stones represent a train going through a tunnel and letting off steam as it comes out the other side to represent how it helps to talk to people and get things off your chest.
"We need this now more than ever after the pandemic and I also want the bench to remember all the people we have also lost."
Burnley Council has agreed to fix the bench in place permanently after vandals tipped it over the day after it arrived.
Viv added: "The bench is made of steel and other reinforced materials that won't rust.
"A few people have already sat on it and a lady contacted me to say her little girl wouldn't get off it until someone had walked past that she could say hello.
"That made my day."