A THOMAS Hardye student has built an oak bench for the town council's new tennis courts in the Borough Gardens.

George Howell, 18, was looking for something useful to do for his project design course – just at the time the council were considering a bench.

“We needed a bench and George came along and offered us one...it was meant to be,” said town clerk Adrian Stuart.

“It is really good, at the end of an A level project to have something useful come out of it,” said Mr Stuart.

Not only has George researched, designed and constructed the bench, but has also made a brass plaque to dedicate it to Winifred Marsden, the first female mayor of Dorchester, who served in the mid 1930s – at the suggestion of deputy town clerk, Steve Newman, who has liaised with George throughout the project.

George estimates that just making the bench took around 200 hours with the project also involving visits to other parks to see other public furniture in use, talking to park users, research and detailed design work.

His hard work has not only resulted in a handsome bench for public use but an estimated top mark for his course, the bench project making up 50 per cent of the mark. George's other subjects, of maths and physics, will follow a more traditional exam course in the coming weeks with hopes of three As, or A-star, marks to guarantee him the provisional offer of a place at Southampton University for a four-year MEng course in mechanical engineering.

George says the bench project was hard work but enjoyable: “ I did put in a lot of time but I'm thrilled with it. It's good quality and will be used by a lot of people,” he said.

His design includes side frames made in a special jig and slats which can be removed easily for repair or storage.

“It's a very sturdy bench. I'm hoping it will last a long time,” said George.

By chance one of the players on the courts at the time these pictures were taken was local guitar maker David Moth, a man used to creating intricate and complex instruments: “It's a fine piece of work, well executed,” he said after taking a closer look at the bench.