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Three more bench installations are underway as part of the Longevity Bench Project. The first of these three is thanks to Jerry and Mary Ellen Cook who committed a place on their property at Harold and Forest Streets in honor of her parents, Marjorie and Isaac Lance, who raised their family here. “We have created a special place along this old hedge planted by my father who was a prolific gardener,” explains Mary Ellen, “to border this corner lot of apple trees.” A plaque will honor their memory and the Cook’s generous gift to the residents of Manchester.

Each bench has its own unique story that will be shared as they are introduced, underscoring the commitment to the encouragement of walking for a long healthy life, shared by donors, residents and friends alike. “Every spring I announce that I plan to do some serious bench sitting, or whimsical bench sitting or seriously whimsical bench sitting”, wrote resident Katherine Arthur, I hope these benches become a model for other towns and cities around the country. I always thought that a little of Manchester should be exported”.

Yellow dots on the map at the project website identifies the priority locations where the stately benches will be mounted to a pad/platform on land 12’ x 6’ x 6”deep, providing  ample off-traffic area for bikes, strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, standing, and stretching.

Sincere thanks goes out to many new contributors who will be honored as each bench is introduced. Support of the project comes through individual donations, sponsors of bench locations, and donations of pad/platforms and benches for mention on the plaques. From a total of 30, 26 more benches will achieve the project goal of a bench every half mile along popular walking loops.

The Longevity Bench Project is a community based non-profit initiative to bring benches into residential neighborhoods by increasing “places to rest while taking a walk.” Contact Lisa Bonneville at 978-526-4491 to arrange a bench on your property and send donations, in any amount, to Longevity Bench Project, P.O. Box 145, Manchester MA, 01944. For complete information, visit the website at