Garden to honour heroes

Birstall In Bloom are creating a memorial garden for WWI soldiers.
Birstall In Bloom are creating a memorial garden for WWI soldiers.

A community group will transform a grassy verge into a memorial garden to mark the centenary of the beginning of the first world war.

Birstall In Bloom is planning to convert the site by Birstall Community Centre into a space of remembrance for the millions of soldiers who sacrificed their lives in World War I.

The group has been consulting with landscape gardener Chris Terry to discuss potential ideas for the garden.

Birstall In Bloom’s Joanna Cooney said: “At the cemetery by St Peter’s Church, they do a walk on November 11 every year from the church into the village to pay their respects.

“But we have nothing in the village centre. With this year being the centenary of the beginning of the war, it is the perfect time to do something.

“We thought it was a good opportunity to have it by the community centre as it is in the centre of the village and can be visited by anyone in Birstall.”

The group is planning to create a mosaic of paving stones to symbolise a poppy.

They are discussing installing a bench by the site to give people a chance to sit by the garden and reflect.

Birstall In Bloom members are also hoping to transform the area into a sea of red poppies to mark the anniversary.

Miss Cooney said: “We have had some really good suggestions and we think the garden will be appreciated by many.

“The land is a bit of a grot spot. Last year we planted lots of bulbs but the ideas will help make it extra special.”

Mr Terry is currently in talks with potential sponsors, who may fund some of the suggestions for the garden.

He is hoping to begin working on the feature next month.

The plans coincide with the group’s Yorkshire In Bloom entry, which will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom’s campaign.

Community groups across the region are being encouraged to back their growing for gold theme and plant golden pollinating plants as part of their display.

The theme looks to commemorate the Tour de France, which comes to Yorkshire in July, and many of the In Bloom groups on the route of the Grand Depart are already planning yellow and gold planting schemes.

Miss Cooney said Birstall In Bloom team would also be basing their entry on the world’s most famous bike race.

The Yorkshire In Bloom judges will visit Birstall in April.