A new memorial bench at Elveden Forest

View of lake and beach with coloured boats lined up on the beach and on the lake with water fountain to the left of the lake and forest in the distance

04 October 2022

A new memorial bench at Elveden Forest

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Last week saw the opening of a new memorial bench at Elveden Forest, in memory of Center Parcs colleagues who have sadly passed away in recent years as well as our beloved Percy the Peacock. 


Our colleagues are like one big family, so we felt it was only right to remember those who have left us and celebrate their time at Elveden Forest by having a dedicated space to reflect. We invited close family members and friends of the colleagues who have passed to watch the grand unveiling of the memorial bench and to see it in its new home. We value all our colleagues and want to make them, as well as their families, feel welcome at Elveden Forest.


Percy passed on village earlier this year in January; for guests and colleagues who knew him he was more than a peacock: he was a social media star, a prankster, a guard dog and a famous figure around the village. If you would like to find out more about his charming character, you can read about him here.



Crafting the bench

The memorial bench was made from a larch tree which was brought down by Storm Eunice in February. The bench was then hand-crafted on site. 


It took two people to carve the seat. A local wood sculptor carved the arms of the bench as well as the peacocks on each arm. We knew from the very start that we wanted the bench to include a visual reference to Percy the Peacock because he was so very special to us. 


Once each of the pieces were carefully crafted, the bench was assembled. The entire project took roughly seven months to complete, and the bench is now in place on the banks of the lake.


“Personally, I couldn’t be prouder having had such a part in getting it here. It’s such a lovely thing to do for the family of colleagues which we’ve lost. I felt quite emotional when it was put on the lakeside.” – Kay Durrant, Assistant Ground Services Manager, who organised the project.




Remembering Percy’s best moments

Whilst creating the bench, colleagues involved were able to reflect on a few of their favourite Percy moments. Here are some of our colleagues favourite memories of this cheeky but charming peacock:


"Percy has always been a character on village, especially in his younger days - if you didn’t like large birds, he could be rather formidable!"


"He would regularly stand guard at the old Lakeview hotel, not letting anyone in or out, particularly if you had a buggy or pram! Percy certainly took his job as guard dog very seriously, making sure there was no trouble on his watch."


"There were a few complaints about him over the years, but it was usually when a guest tried to relieve Percy of one of his prized possessions: his tail feathers! He was understandably somewhat attached to them (although you can hardly blame him!). "


"As well as being our top security guard, he also learnt how to open automatic doors at the Venue to sneak inside out of the cold. He was forever being chased out, but this didn’t stop him from trying his luck. He also tried to sneak into the Pottery Painting Studio kiln room too, but his feathers gave him away. "


"Percy also befriended our colleagues on village. Over lockdown, he formed a special bond with our Assistant Ground Services Manager, Kay Durrant. Like clockwork, he would go to Kay’s office each day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, making himself comfortable on her sofa. He even had his very own food bowl in her office for light grazing during the day."




The bench is located at D9 on the village map, a calm and quiet location in the heart of the village. It’s next to Guest Services and the start of the Geocache activity, as well as a photo opportunity point on the Forest Discovery Trail. It faces the lake, making it a perfect place to sit quietly and reflect as you watch the wildlife go by. 



Why not find the bench yourself and admire the view? Don’t forget to use the #MyCP hashtag when sharing your Center Parcs photos on social media.




James “Jimbo” Skippen, Kitchen Steward, 28 years of service

Kayleigh Roe, Housekeeper, 4 years of service

Lauren Danks, Senior Beauty Therapist, 3 years of service

Malgorzata “Gosia” Lechanska, Housekeeper, 2 years of service

Paula Kavanagh, Housekeeper, 3 months of service

Percy the Peacock, 1998 – 2022


Close up of wooden peacock sculpture which sits on one of the arm rests of the bench
A progress picture of the wooden sculpture of percy the peacock - before colour was added
View from behind the bench showing that it looks over the lake filled with ducks
An inscription on a bench reading "In memory of the members of the Center Parcs family who are no longer with us."
New wooden bench decorated with wooden peacocks sat in the forest

Hannah Cowles

As Marketing Executive at Elveden Forest, I get to be the eyes and ears of the village. I adore sharing exciting projects that are happening on our village, and hearing about the latest guest stories to keep you up to date with life at Elveden Forest.

Hannah standing under an archway door smiling at camera