Children help design Norton Commemorative Garden

Commemorative Garden
Commemorative Garden
Published Friday, 17th July 2015

A commemorative garden designed by school children was officially opened yesterday (Thursday, July 16).

The Norton commemorative garden was officially opened yesterday at a special ribbon cutting event held at St Peters Garden Centre Worcester.

Children from the local school, Norton juxta Kempsey First School, were asked to design a garden that would commemorate the Norton Barracks and the soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment who were based there from 1881 to 1962 with the winning design being transformed into a special garden based at the local St. Peter’s Garden Centre.

The final article is a combination of several of the children's entries including the garden resembling the outline of a Poppy, a wall which depicts the tops of the Barracks Keep, and sandbags as planters.

 Lots of the children’s pictures also included benches to allow visitors to sit, relax and reflect upon war and loved ones, and Stonemasons of Worcester generously donated a granite bench.

The official opening of the garden is the first of many projects organised by Norton Worcestershire Regiment Group as a means of commemorating and recording the history of the local area.

Cllr Ian Hopwood, Chairman of Worcestershire County Council said: "This is a wonderful idea and very fitting way to  remember The Norton Barracks and the soldiers of the Worcestershire Regiment who were based here from 1881 to 1962.  I am delighted to be able to open this new garden, which has been created by local St Peter's Garden Centre from (name of winner) winning design."

Tracey Hodgkins (Norton Worcestershire Regiment Group) said: "It is really exciting to see one of our projects come to fruition. The garden looks fabulous. Our aim is to bring our local history alive and help the Community to remember and this Commemorative Garden truly acts as a flagship for our objectives.”

William Blake, St Peter's Garden Centre said: "When the Norton Community Trust contacted me about a Commemoration Garden in recognition of the forces which were based here in Norton I was only too happy to get involved. We spent some time looking at the various potential locations, but there was a very obvious ‘win win’ location at the Garden Centre. The garden overlooks part of the old barracks site, we can maintain the garden, so it will always look it’s very best, all of our customers get to enjoy the garden and understand what was here before the houses.

"On a personal note I spent many summer holiday working and playing at the barracks;  as a business we rented space there back in the 1980s and 1990s.  So it is place that’s dear to my heart.  I am extremely pleased that we’ve been able to get involved and support with project, and I look forward to welcoming people to the garden."

The project was supported by Worcestershire Community Covenant Partnership and awarded an £11,270 grant from the MOD to deliver the project of which the garden is just one element.