Hope is Everything bench

... and a celebrity comes to visit

“Hope is everything” bench installed in Hemel after filming of hit show After Life

Hit Netflix series After Life is renowned for its scenes showing Ricky Gervais’ character, Tony, on a bench at his local churchyard, as he continues to grieve for his wife Lisa, played by Kerry Godliman. The bench serves as a place for Tony to reflect, share, listen and, ultimately, to grow and find hope for the future.

Now, to mark the final series of the much-loved show, Netflix has donated a bench to Hemel Hempstead and 25 other locations around the UK to create a space for communities to visit.

Hemel Hempstead was used for many locations in the village of Tambury and we have chosen to install the bench across the road from the location used as the newspaper office – used in real life by voluntary group Community Action Dacorum in the heart of Hemel’s Old Town High Street. Many local businesses in the High Street were used in the programme, including the House of Elliott, The Tea Tree and Artichoke.

The benches have been commissioned alongside suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) – who offer help, advice and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis. Those who visit a bench will be able to access resources from CALM via a unique QR code with the wording “Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is by your side”, and online by visiting the CALM website.

Ricky Gervais said: “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for After Life, as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with CALM and the great work they do.”

Simon Gunning, CEO at CALM, said: “Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest. That is why we’re delighted to team up with Netflix to put benches in parks across the country – inscribed with that crucial line from the show, “Hope is everything” – to help people have those conversations and to show it’s normal to have those feelings.”

Pictured on the bench from left to right – Cllr Alan Anderson (Dacorum Borough Council), Olivia Deacon (Artichoke), Cindy Withy (Community Action Dacorum) and Michele Elliott (House of Elliott).

Celebrity Visit

I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time at the weekend to join a visit organised by Pippa Cawdron from Dacorum Borough Council and Sara Boethe from Visit Herts. Antilly who plays Brandy in the After Life series came on a visit, we will share the full news through our newsletter next month.

It was amazing to see how well she is trained and speak to her owners about what goes on behind the scenes. Of course, she made a visit to the bench and both my daughter and Pippa’s enjoyed some time playing with her. I am looking forward to sharing the full article with you in due course.


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