Remembering Jeff Henry through Evington Echo articles

Remembering Jeff Henry through Evington Echo articles

Evington Echo Issue 289 for April/May 2021 page 7


Over thirty-five households in Evington have responded positively to a new initiative, designed to improve our local environment.

Imagine a square in your garden, measuring two metres by two metres – would you be willing to let that little bit of garden ‘go wild’ for nature?

That is what we are asking households in Evington to do this spring.  The greater the number of people who devote a small area of their garden to nature, the larger our nature reserve will be.

 A lot of people in the Evington area already have lovely gardens, balconies and yards and that’s not a bad thing.  However, if we all make a small patch more environmentally friendly, we might get more bees, butterflies and birds visiting those lovely gardens. In other words, we’ll improve our biodiversity – a very good thing.

To get the nature reserve started, Evington residents, Jeff and Suzanne, have leafletted over 200 households between Sedgebrook and Chatteris Roads, asking people to contribute four square-metres of garden and offering a pack of wildflower seeds to get them started.  In a brilliant response, thirty-five households responded and have now received their seeds.

Anyone else willing to join in are very welcome and can claim a pack of seeds (while stocks last) by emailing

For anyone unsure about how to make their garden, patio or balcony more nature-friendly, we have plenty of suggestions.  Some methods are cheap and easy to do like sowing some wildflower seeds in spaces in flower beds, letting a patch of lawn grow freely until September, not cutting hedges or shrubs back until September and not using pesticides.

More ambitious projects include introducing a birdbath, water feature or pond, growing a native hedgerow and creating a kitchen garden. See for more detailed ideas and information.

Jeff Henry

This is a picture of Suzanne Henry. Jeff was there helping too. They helped take on a new phase of developing this piece of land in Evington Village into a wildlife embankment.

Picture of Suzanne working on the Evington Village embankment.  Jeff was there but not in the photograph.



Evington Echo Issue Aug/Sept 2021 page 8

How Do You Fancy Being Involved in a Small, Local Paradise for Wildlife in Evington?

As part of Evington in Bloom and Evington Community Nature Reserve, some volunteers from Friends of Evington have been working to develop the Garden of Hope on Davenport Road. With its south-facing seats and little walkways around the flower beds and woodland, this little garden provides a lovely place for people of the local community to meet and relax.

The flower beds and wildflower grassy margins provide a diverse range of plants and flowers for bees, butterflies and other useful pollinators, but what of the small woodland behind?

We’ve begun by fighting back nettles and brambles to establish a pathway through the woodland. Along the route, we’ve placed tree trunk sections for seating and, at the back, have established a compost heap and a wood pile. Other than that, we’re thinking about introducing features that would be interesting to look at and helpful to wildlife.

Here are some of our ideas: 

*  a blossom, fruit and nut thicket of crab apple, bird cherry, hazel, hawthorn and blackthorn;

*  a ‘fruits of the forest’ forage area where people can gather herbs, blackberries, sloes, wild strawberries and raspberries;

*  a bog garden to provide a greater range of plants and a habitat for hoverflies, frogs and toads, damselflies and dragonflies;

*  a birds’ winter larder in which shrubs, crops and climbers provide winter berries and seeds;

*  islands of woodland bulbs, wildflowers, shrubs and ferns.

So those are our ideas, but we’d love to have the community’s thoughts and involvement. Why not have a stroll through the woodland and let us know how you would like to see it developed and how you would like to be involved. 


Website for more information:



Evington Echo Issue Oct/Nov. 2021 page 8

Evington Community Nature Reserve – Autumn Planning

Our project to devote more space to nature in Evington’s gardens has been very successful. Over fifty people requested wildflower seeds to sow and many have reported their successes, with only a few wildflower no-shows!

In addition, we had a great response to our give-away of sunflower seedlings and seeds.  We have seen many great examples of sunflowers smiling out from local front gardens.

Meanwhile, the wildflower embankment by the village green has been a qualified success with a lovely range of flowers growing across most of it.

So, what’s next? Well, September to October is a brilliant time to sow seeds and plant bulbs, ready for flowering next spring. Very soon, we will be issuing more seeds and providing hints and tips for a successful spring flowering.

If you would like to make a pledge to devote space to nature in your garden and receive a free pack of wildflower seeds to help you along, please contact us through our website or email.

Jeff Henry



222 FOR 2022


Can You Help Us Hit Our Tree-Planting Target?

As part of Evington Community Nature Reserve we are hoping to provide at least 222 small trees for gardens and green spaces in Evington in early 2022. By investing some of Friends of Evington’s funding under the ‘People and Pollinators’ grant,  (Awards for All, National Lottery) these trees will be free to those residents who would like one for their garden.

Not every garden has a lot of space and so we will provide trees that can be kept to almost any height and spread their owners prefer. 

Trees are brilliant at lots of things that improve our local environment, like producing blossom, fruit and nuts, as well as shade. They also provide a home and food for a whole range of beneficial creatures such as moths, birds, bees, hoverflies and butterflies. Above all they form a terrific shield from pollution and absorb carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. If you plant one of these trees in your garden, you will be taking a small step to reducing your carbon footprint and helping fight the climate crisis! Obviously, if we achieve our target of planting 222 trees, that’s a much greater step for our community.

So, what can you expect if you volunteer to plant a free tree in your garden?

The trees we are going to supply will be crab apple, hazelnut and bird cherry. We will deliver them in January or February 2022.

You will receive a tree in the very early stages of its growth – it will be about half a metre tall. In addition, the tree will be supplied as a ‘bare root’ – in other words, not in a pot of soil. This means your new tree will look rather like a stick with roots.

To plant your tree, all you will need to do is make a slit in the ground, pop the tree into the slit, root-first, and close the soil around the roots – easy.

As spring comes round, you will see your ‘stick’ burst into life and send out its first leaves and shoots. My wife and I put similar trees into our garden in 2019 and they are now almost two metres tall; yours might be a similar height in 2024.

The trees will be extremely easy to care for as they are native plants and very happy in our climate. They should only need to be cut back each winter – this will help make them nice and bushy and keep them to the size you want. We will provide guidance on what to do.

As very young trees, they will not produce blossom or fruit for the first two to three years but, after that, you will be rewarded with a lovely display every spring.

For people who have enough space, we may be able to get you more than one tree – just let us know how many you would like and we’ll let you know how many we are able to give you.  For the moment, we only need to know the number and type of tree you would like.

To reserve your free tree(s) just email us on

Jeff Henry (Trustee, Friends of Evington)



Evington Echo Feb/March 2022  Issue 294


Friends of Evington trustees have been working constructively with the City Council to develop a plan for a community garden in Sedgebrook Open Space on Sedgebrook Road.

There are three aspects to the project:

Formal flower beds with a small picnic site;

Woodland flowers and shrubs;

A wildflower mini-meadow.

These will take up a small part of the park, leaving plenty of space for children to play.

Our hope is that the park will be more widely used by the local community and, with that in mind, we will be involving a working group of local residents in the development.

The garden will be part of Evington in Bloom and the working group will apply for It’s Your Neighbourhood status through the Royal Horticultural Society. 

Friends of Evington members and residents of Sedgebrook Road and Sedgebrook Close have been contacted about the proposal.

Once the site agreement has been finalised, we will contact people again to invite them onto the working group.

 In the meantime, for the latest information, see the Evington in Bloom section of our new website

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo Issue 294 page 12 Feb/March 2022



I recently watched a TV programme called Horizon: Feast to Save the Planet. It involved four celebrities being given a free meal, then being marked on their choices of food, according to each one’s carbon footprint. I’d recommend it but I’m not sure if it’s still available.

What I can recommend is a book whose author featured in the programme. The book is ‘How Bad are Bananas’ by Mike Berners-Lee. The book provides estimates of the carbon footprints of many foods, products and activities and makes an interesting read for anyone concerned about climate change. I am using it to help me make better food-choices in 2022.

Given the title of the book and how far bananas are transported to reach us here in the UK, you might be expecting my first dietary tweak to be eating fewer bananas. The big surprise is that the carbon-footprint of bananas is not too bad at all and the same goes for oranges, melons and pineapples. This is due to the fact that they are shipped in vast numbers, don’t need freezing or refrigeration and do not need oodles of heavy packaging for transportation.

One unsurprising aspect of the programme was that beef and dairy products have a huge negative effect on the environment.  One celebrity chose a hefty steak for her main course, suspecting her score would take a hit but being massively shocked by the sheer size of the mark her meal received compared with the chicken, salmon and vegetarian choices.  Mussels turned out to be a very low-carbon meal but one celebrity, cleverly going for a vegan, option got a nasty surprise by the terrible score she received, as her salad contained asparagus, flown in from South America!

So, here’s my plan (not rocket science):

  • eat less meat and choose UK-reared when I do;
  • avoid dairy products, try vegan alternatives and drink oat milk;
  • choose UK-grown, seasonal fruit and veg (look for frozen, UK-grown items out of season);
  • try to do without anything that has been flown in from abroad;
  • drink British or Australian wine and beer brewed in the UK;
  • be alert for items that may have been flown to the UK or require heavy packaging;
  • if in doubt, refer to ‘How Bad are Bananas’ and act accordingly!

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo April/May 2022 Issue 295 page 5 & 6



There has  been a fantastic response from Evington residents to the drive to encourage people to plant new trees in their gardens. You may remember that this was an initiative from Evington Community Nature Reserve, supported and funded by Friends of Evington. The aim was to plant at least 222 new trees in the gardens of Evington. The varieties on offer were all native trees: bird cherry; crab apple and hazel.  We are delighted to say we are very close to achieving our target and, in the next issue of the Evington Echo, we will let you know how many trees have been planted in total.


Evington Community Nature Reserve  

This project was set up last year by Evington residents Jeff and Suzanne Henry and is supported by Friends of Evington. The plan was to ask local people to devote a little more of their gardens to nature. So far, many people have committed to grow more wild flowers, sunflowers and now small, native trees that will be loved by birds, bees and butterflies, along with other beneficial insects.

Here are some simple ways you can join in:

Allow part of your lawn to grow a little wilder.

Sow some wildflowers – any time in March or April is fine.

Cut out trimming a hedge or some shrubs until they have flowered and (maybe) fruited.

Please avoid using pesticides and weed killers.

Buy from an organic supplier, ready for a summer display.

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo April/May 2022 Issue  295


These photographs taken in February,  show local volunteers making dead hedges in the woodland area. 

Using branches in this way is good for wildlife – – it is somewhere for small mammals and birds to shelter from predators and from the wind and rain.  It is also good for insects and other pollinators.



Evington Echo Issue 296 June/July 2022 page 13

Five Ways This Old Duffer Will Try to Reduce His Carbon Footprint in 2022

Part Three – Save Energy and Money in the Slow Lane

Who doesn’t want to reduce their fuel consumption, save money, cut down on plastic waste and pollution and reduce their carbon footprint? I’m going to bet that there aren’t many people now screaming at their copy of the Evington Echo “Me! I don’t want to do any of those things!”

I do have a harder set of questions for you.

Who is prepared to walk, cycle or take public transport rather than drive their car to work, school or college?

Who fancies driving at 50mph instead of at the national speed limit on major roads and motorways?

Who would be willing to drive their vehicle at no more than 20mph through the tranquil roads of Evington – especially down Main Street?

Is it a tiny bit possible someone might consider turning their engine off while waiting to collect their daughter/son/grandchild from our many fantastic schools? Perhaps more people are now shouting “Not me! I don’t want to do any of those things.”

Maybe these questions illustrate very clearly the difficulties we face when we want to make greener choices and reduce the terrible impacts on the environment caused by the way we live.  To choose to be greener, we might have to choose to make changes to our lifestyles that we really don’t feel like making. Often we oppose change because it’s hard or scary; maybe we put off alterations to our lifestyles to some unspecified future date (maybe never getting round to implementing them). Sometimes we’re not really sure of the benefits of greener living choices – especially if we think we’re the only ones making them.

The last thing any of us wants or needs is to be told how to lead our lives (nobody wants to be nannied) but here are a few ideas that we could all try and see how we get on. If you try them, you will save money and you will reduce plastic waste and pollution.

So, here’s my plan (as ever, it’s not rocket science):

*Walk, cycle and use public transport where practical

* Drive at a maximum of 20mph in built-up areas and 50mph on major roads

* Slow down earlier when approaching junctions, using brakes as little as possible

* Switch off my engine, with no idling, when the car is parked

*On single carriageways, with no opportunity for other road users to overtake, avoid inconveniencing them by driving at the speed of the road

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo June/July 2022 no. 296 page 1

Evington Community Nature Reserve – 222FOR2022 update   

Our thanks to all those who agreed to plant a small tree in their garden. We can report that our target of 222 trees has been achieved. In fact, all 240 trees that we ordered were taken for planting by Evington residents and organisations. Those trees will already be in leaf and busy absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. In time they will provide shelter for birds and food for beneficial insects. Information about Evington Community Nature Reserve and details of how to care for your tree and devote more space in your garden to wildlife can be found on

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo Issue 297 August/September 2022 page 14

Five Ways This Old Duffer Will Try to Reduce His Carbon Footprint in 2022

Part Four – Invest in the Future

As a member of a group of society sometimes referred to as ‘Baby Boomers’, I’m conscious of the fact that I have taken full advantage of the opportunities that have come the way of people my age. As a result, I own my own home and a fairly new car and have saved well enough to be able to retire before the age of sixty.

I know not everyone – including many other ‘boomers’ – is in this position.  This leaves me feeling a keener sense of responsibility to invest in ways that will help reduce the effects of climate change on future generations.

There is one simple, free way we all can do this: check the investments made by companies that provide our banking and insurance and those we invest our savings in.  If they invest heavily in fossil fuels, switch to someone who doesn’t. Consider switching to an energy company that invests directly in renewable energy supplies, rather than maximising profits for shareholders.

Secondly, anyone who has money to invest, put it into solar panels and a battery. If not on your own house, maybe a close family member if they can’t afford their own.

If you’d prefer a lower level of investment, how about getting someone in to check your house insulation and get it upgraded if necessary?  This home improvement will pay for itself in only a few years.

For those of us lucky enough to be able to buy a car: look to buy an electric – you might well find it is way better to drive and cheaper to buy over time than petrol/diesel, meanwhile the charging point situation is improving. Maybe start, as I have, with a hybrid and immediately improve your fuel consumption.

Finally – again if you’re able to afford it – when your current heating system needs an upgrade, why not look to an electric heat pump? With your solar cells and battery, you’ll probably have electricity to spare to power it for free.

In each example above, there’s an investment to be made but in every case, it will save money in the long run. Above all it should reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, reduce pollution and make a significant contribution towards tackling climate change.

So, here’s my plan (and I know that not everyone can afford it but we’ll do what we can):

  • Find out whether my bank, insurance, and savings companies invest in fossil fuels and switch to those that don’t (done);
  • Switch to an energy company that invests profits in renewable sources of energy, rather than shareholders (done – Ecotricity);
  • Invest in solar panels and a battery (done and it’s amazing!)
  • Get my home insulation checked and upgraded where necessary (done);
  • Set a date by which I’ll switch to an electric car (2025) – maybe get a hybrid in the interim (done);

Plan to upgrade my central heating to a heat pump (2025)

Jeff Henry



Evington Echo no. 297  August/September 2022 page 8


This picture shows some volunteers from Sedgebrook Community Garden group in front of one of the new perennial flower beds.  (I think Jeff took the picture.)

Volunteers have completed the planting of the flower beds and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of the picnic bench to complete that part.  The wildflower meadow area had been coming along quite nicely with planning to add a few more plug plants to those that were becoming established.  Unfortunately, an employee who normally mows parks in a different area was drafted to Sedgebrook to cover an ill colleague and didn’t realise that the meadow was part of the plan and mowed it flat.  Never mind, we were planning to resow in September anyway.

Meanwhile the mowed paths have been measured and mapped to provide a walking route of about 500 metres.  Walk ten times round for your 5k or five times round quickly for a thirty-minute brisk walk as recommended by the NHS.  Alternatively, take a relaxing walk and talk with family or neighbours.

The judges learned that the Sedgebrook Community Garden volunteers wished to increase the number of local people that visit and use the facilities on Sedgebrook Open Space.  The judges liked the way the volunteers had worked constructively with the council parks department to produce a site agreement.  The way local residents had got involved was highly praised, as were the range of planting and the colour schemes in the flower beds.  The judges wished the volunteers good luck with the future plans of developing the wild flower meadow and woodland area and encouraging people to walk the mown paths.

Jeff Henry (Trustee of Friends of Evington/Evington in Bloom and Volunteer leader for this project).




Evington Echo Issue April/ May 2023  301 page 9

A hub for biodiversity in Sedgebrook open space

A reporter from France, Alex Portlock, visits and talks to Jeff.

Letting Nature do her own thing on a small green patch (it’s a bit over 1 ha, does that qualify as small?) opposite the local Co-op on Downing Drive is a conscious decision of a group of local volunteers.  Jeff Henry, a retired physics teacher living next to Sedgebrook Road, is leading this Community Garden Project.

Turning Sedgebrook open space into a biodiverse and attractive space including a wildflower meadow and mowed walking, is the aim of a local It’s Your Neighbourhood group since summer 2021, after a campaign led by locals to save the area from being partly turned into space for houses.

A group of around 15 people have planted bulbs and seeds, and plants such as penstemons, cow parsley and hellebores.  These plants that grow well, are chosen because they are sustainable, pollinator friendly and mostly native.

Chrysanthemums would look pretty stupid here” justifies Jeff Henry, as he contemplates the small buds timidly shooting out of the wet ground.

Providing new opportunities for wildlife is this IYN’s goal.  It meets the objectives described in the Leicester City local plan, according to the publication draft which can be found on the website consultations at

The project has been funded from a £10,000 Community Lottery grant given to the charity, Friends of Evington.

As walkers stroll on the 500m grass pathway mowed by the volunteers, they come across walls of twigs, old leaves and other cuttings.  Behind what looks like mere rubble is a well thought structure.  The gardeners (and somewhat improvised builders) have used plant residues to create ‘deadhedges’, lodges for local fauna.

Sedgebrook Open space is to be a welcoming hub for wildlife, but also for the local community.  It’s another much appreciated breather from the bustling city.  In addition to the flowers and herbs, a picnic bench is to be installed, making the land even more pleasant.  It is a project supported by the Council and long awaited by the community.  The Council has been asked when the picnic bench installation will be delivered.  Penny Brown, Leicester City council’s volunteer coordinator for IYNs and Bloom tells us this will be done as soon as the ground is firm enough to take a lorry and installation equipment.

She says : The Sedgebrook Gardeners are a wonderfully positive and active RHS It’s Your Neighbourhood group, who are making huge improvements to Sedgebrook Open Space.

They recently joined the Leicester Environmental Volunteer team to help to thin the small woodland strip next to the brook and make a dead hedge with the subsequent materials, providing a sanctuary for overwintering creatures.

This compliments their volunteering efforts in the other areas of the spinney adjacent to Downing Drive and the new flower beds they have created for both wildflowers and perennial plants.

We look forward to seeing these new features thrive and improve over the coming years and thank you to the group for their support.

Anyone interested in helping out in this community garden project is welcome.  No particular skills are required, just motivation and interest in gardening, as well as availability on Thursday mornings.  Please contact Jeff Henry email: or telephone (his mobile number was given).




Evington Echo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, Evington Echo on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.