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After Life bench donated by Netflix now installed near Hubert Fountain in Victoria Park, Ashford


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A bench inspired by Ricky Gervais’ Netflix show After Life has now been installed in Victoria Park in Ashford.

The seat is one of 25 donated to councils across the country with the aim of providing a place for people to sit, reflect and share.

Ali Rossiter and Karen were some of the first to enjoy the new bench. Picture: ABC
Ali Rossiter and Karen were some of the first to enjoy the new bench. Picture: ABC

It has been placed close to the Grade II-listed Hubert Fountain in the Jemmett Road park.

This morning, Ali Rossiter was one of the first to try out the new seat.

“I’m absolutely thrilled we have the bench in the park," she said.

"I hope people will sit on there and use it as an opportunity to talk with friends and to connect in a way they may feel they can’t elsewhere.”

Directed and written by Ricky Gervais, After Life follows Tony, played by the comedian, as he deals with intense grief following his wife Lisa's death from cancer.

All 25 benches across the country are inscribed with 'Hope is Everything'. Picture: ABC
All 25 benches across the country are inscribed with 'Hope is Everything'. Picture: ABC
Roger Batho, Victoria Park project team leader, enjoying the new bench with his pooch. Picture: ABC
Roger Batho, Victoria Park project team leader, enjoying the new bench with his pooch. Picture: ABC

In the first series Tony, a reporter for the made up Tambury Gazette, is contemplating ending his life to escape his unbearable pain.

But slowly, with the help of his friends, colleagues and beloved dog, Tony starts to realise that making other people feel good is what can give him hope and a reason to live.

The characters are regularly seen chatting on benches, including at the graveyard where Lisa is buried, and serve as a place to reflect, share, listen and, ultimately, to grow and find hope for the future.

It is hoped these benches, which have also been placed in Bath, Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool will serve the same purpose.

They have been commissioned alongside suicide prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) - which offers help, advice and information to anyone who is struggling or in crisis.

Netflix has donated 25 benches to councils across the UK. Picture: Netflix
Netflix has donated 25 benches to councils across the UK. Picture: Netflix
The seat was donated to Victoria Park by Netflix. Picture: ABC
The seat was donated to Victoria Park by Netflix. Picture: ABC

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'.

Each is inscribed with - Hope is Everything - a quote from the show and also features a plaque with “This bench is donated by Netflix to commemorate Ricky Gervais' After Life.”

The show, now in its third series, is currently the number one on the streaming service in the UK.

In April 2020, plans for multi-million pound film studios at the former Newtown railway works site in Ashford were approved.

Netflix has long been linked with that project, with work expected to start later this year.

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