Visitors to Basingstoke’s War Memorial Park will see the Peace Garden take shape over the next few months as a lasting celebration of peace and reconciliation.
Members of the Peace Garden Advisory Group, which is being supported by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, planted one of the first trees on Friday 6 April to mark the start of work on the garden.
The silver birch trees were planted at the newly-cleared site which is being transformed into a community garden for all to enjoy.
A circular paved space with a water feature and seating for relaxation and contemplation is proposed, surrounded by trees, foliage and flowers, in the corner of the park close to the aviary.
It is planned to open the garden on the International Day of Peace on Friday 21 September 2018.
The Peace Garden Advisory Group has received £40,000 from the borough council’s Local Infrastructure Fund, to supplement £23,667 from developer contributions. The Rooksdown Club is donating £5,000 to the garden and commissioning a sculptured bust to commemorate the work of Sir Harold Gillies, which will be placed in the garden.
Sir Harold pioneered facial plastic surgery for wounded servicemen during both world wars, while based at Park Prewett Hospital, now Rooksdown.
John Lewis Partnership has also donated £885 through its Community Matters scheme where customers of the Basingstoke store vote for their favourite community project.
In addition, work to prepare for the tree planting was donated by Gristwood and Toms and the planting of the birch trees was sponsored by Kieron Beattie Landscapes.
Peace Garden Advisory Group chairman Pip Iles said: “It is very exciting to see the first trees and plants in place at the site. We are now looking forward to watching the garden take shape over the spring and summer months.
“War Memorial Park is a perfect setting for this community garden and everybody involved in the project hopes that borough residents and visitors will find it a place to sit and enjoy some quiet contemplation.
“It is fitting that this community celebration of peace and reconciliation is planned to open on this year’s International Day of Peace.”
To find out more or to offer support, visit https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/peacegarden or email PeaceGardenAdvisoryGroup@basingstoke.gov.uk