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Friends of Greenwich Park

Shire horses to take floral tributes on final journey

A pair of Shire horses will begin work today, Monday 26 September, to remove the many thousands of beautiful floral tributes left by the public to honour The Queen at The Green Park and Hyde Park, announces The Royal Parks charity.

The Shire horses, Heath and Nobby, both senior greys aged 17 and 14 years respectively, standing at 18.3 hands, will pull flatbed drays - a traditional open cart usually used in conservation work across the Royal Parks. Heath and Nobby are the same horses that appeared at the Platinum Jubilee celebrations at the Royal Windsor Horse Show this May.

Staff and volunteers will fill the working drays with the bouquets and other artefacts, removing any remaining cellophane wrappings and elastic bands, separating artefacts to ensure that only organic material is composted.

The bouquets will be transported by the Shire horses to the Leaf Pen in Kensington Gardens where the flowers will be blended with leaf litter and other green waste, to be composted and turned into mulch.

This compost will be used to enrich the soil of London’s Royal Parks, including the iconic floral displays outside Buckingham Palace, which have provided the backdrop to the ceremonial processions.

The organic mulch will help new life flourish by supporting the landscape and the growth of new flowers, shrubs and trees which will be enjoyed by millions of visitors in the coming year.

Any cards, artefacts and the small number of teddies left will be carefully stored at a location within the Royal Parks, ahead of agreeing a final use for these items with partners in due course.

The waste plastic will be sent to a materials recovery facility which will separate out any material that can be recycled.

Andrew Williams, Park Manager, Kensington Gardens, The Royal Parks, said: “The thousands of tributes that have been left held great sentiment for the people who travelled from all over the country to mark their respects for The Queen and they have created a tranquil and beautiful garden visited by so many.

“We felt that it was appropriate to continue the story of the tributes by creating compost at our green-waste facility here in Kensington Gardens, to support new shoots of life and colourful displays of flowers in spring.

“The mulch generated from the organic material will enrich the soil of the Royal Parks over the coming years. The flowers will provide pleasure to the millions of visitors to the Royal Parks in the future, and will enhance these incredible green spaces within London by providing a valuable habitat for invertebrates including bees and butterflies.”