Opening Of Tolson Memorial Garden

Tolson Memorial Garden, created to commemorate the service men and women who have lost their lives since the end of World War II, is being officially opened on Sunday, 12 October.

The garden, situated behind Tolson Museum in Ravensknowle Park, Huddersfield, is designed to create a place of tranquillity and contemplation, with grassed areas and flower beds encircled by accessible pathways and traditional-style stone walls.

Its centre point is a sculpture of a pair of hands holding the world, sitting on top of a two-metre high block of stone. Other features include poppy-shaped stone seats and a time-line of major conflicts since 1945 set into the pathway.

The Memorial Garden will be opened by the President of Huddersfield Veterans Association, Ian Fillan. The official opening ceremony will follow an introduction to invited guests, including the Mayor of Kirklees Councillor Ken Smith, by Ann Denham, Chair of the Friends of Tolson Museum and Ravensknowle Park.

The garden project was the first and so far biggest undertaken by the Friends group after its formation in 2012. It was made possible by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £97,000 and a further £5,000 raised through local contributions.

“The Memorial Garden has been very much a community project with local people involved in its design, local schoolchildren planting some of the flower beds and financial help from the Area Committee and local charities,” said Mrs Denham.

“It aptly achieves what we set out to do – to honour those who have died in service, both in conflict and humanitarian situations, since 1945 by creating a peaceful place for relaxation and reflection but at the same time providing a place that will be a community facility that will enhance people’s lives.”

Incorporated into the garden is a performance area, the success of which has already been proven by a recent outdoor performance by Mikron Theatre. Enquiries have already been received from local schools to use the space for drama performances.

Making use of the performance area at the opening event will be the Hade Edge Band.

As well as enjoying music, guests will be able to stroll around the garden, enjoying the scented and bee-friendly plants and finding out about the background and development of the garden on three information boards.

There will also be an opportunity to meet the stone carver/sculptor Peter Maris whose background includes heritage restoration work at York Minster and involvement in a number of public art projects.

The Friends group hopes relatives and friends of Huddersfield service men and women who have died in conflicts since 1945 will attend this special event. They should contact Ann Denham, tel: 07803 159506, email: ann.denham3@go0glemail.com for an official invitation.

ENDS

For further information contact Ann Denham, tel: 07803 159506, email: ann.denham3@googlemail.com

Photo Opportunity:

The opening event is 1.45pm-3.15pm. Speeches and the opening ceremony are expected to be completed by 2.15pm, after which there will opportunities for photographs. Invited guests include members of the Friends group, armed forces representatives, HLF representatives, local people involved in the design consultations and local sponsors.

Notes to Editors:

Heritage Lottery Fund:
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported over 36,000 projects with more than £6bn across the UK including £440m to over 3,100 projects in Yorkshire & the Humber alone.  www.hlf.org.uk.

Planting:
The design incorporates three small flower beds, which are being planted by the Friends group, pupils from King James School and pupils from Almondbury High School.

Peter Maris:
Peter is currently artist-in-residence at Armley Mills ‘Millspace’ housed at Leeds Industrial Museum and is also leading on a large scale public art project as part of the £22m town centre re-development of Clay Cross in Derbyshire.

He was also the stone carver involved in Scammonden Water’s ‘Stanza Stone’, a collaboration with poet Simon Armitage and local young people, which involved carving 26 unconnected phrases describing the South Pennine landscape into the stone.

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