Floral clock in Falkirk’s Dollar Park relaunched as ticking timepiece

Visitors to Falkirk’s Dollar Park, who are of a certain age, will be whisked back in time when they clock its new-look entrance.

That’s because the greenspace’s iconic floral clock has been revamped to include a working timepiece — 60 years after the original landmark was installed.

Led by homeless charity Cyrenians and the Rotary Club of Falkirk, with support from Friends of Dollar Park and Falkirk Community Justice, the finishing touches were completed in time for today’s grand unveiling.

The clock’s hands were switched on at 11.50am to mark the point at which the last of the 8000 plants which make up the clock was placed in the ground.

Dollar Park now joins West Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh as one of only two locations in Scotland which boast working floral timepieces.

More than 400 hours were poured into the year-long revamp by volunteers and teams completing community payback work.

Fittingly, those tending to the site were guided by former Falkirk Town Council apprentices John Fraser and Les Pryde — current Friends of Dollar Park chairman — who helped to plant the original design.

Casting their proud eyes over the final outcome, the pair spoke of their hope for the clock to be maintained for future generations to enjoy.

Les, who was also employed by the council as a principal parks officer, said: “I don’t think we ever thought we would be back 60 years later, planting and training people to plant it because it’s a lost art, really, compared to what it was in our day.

“A tremendous amount of the public have memories of coming here as kids.

“To bring the clock back is a bit of nostalgia.”

Detailing how he felt after helping to plant the clock once more, John joked: “Still sore!

“It’s even better now. I’d ask people to keep it going for the future.”

Ruth Mulligan, Cyrenians garden coordinator, added: “Having the opportunity to work with John and Les has been absolutely amazing because I wouldn’t have known how to do that.

“It’s been such an amazing opportunity for my unpaid work squads. They’re so proud of it.”

Rotary Club of Falkirk members also proved instrumental in the initiative by securing funding to cover its costs.

A sponsored walk along the Clyde and Forth Canal by Jim Cairns, Linda Noble and Sandy McGill generated cash, as did collection days in The Howgate Shopping Centre. Businesses also contributed towards the cost of the clock’s new hands by sponsoring a minute.

Lynda Ross-Hale, Cyrenians senior manager, said: “The floral clock is a true representation of the power of collaborative working here in Falkirk.

“At Cyrenians we believe that everyone deserves to feel part of the community and this clock represents that journey — working together to create something that benefits all.

“The floral clock, to the people of Falkirk, represents the past, present and future.

“We want to reconnect the community to the park and we will continue to build on the many positive memories for the next generation.”

Jim Cairns, president of the Rotary Club of Falkirk, said: “Working with Cyrenians and the Friends of Dollar Park has allowed us to bring to life our ambitious plans to reinstate the floral clock.

“It was a pleasure fundraising for such a celebrated focal point and I hope our community enjoys the fruits of the incredible amount of effort that went into creating it.

“We believe in the value of investing in our local community to improve Falkirk for everyone and working collaboratively on this project has allowed us to reach even more people than before.”