Didsbury Civic Society raises funds for new garden of contemplation at village war memorial
- Didsbury Civic Society raising funds for new garden of contemplation
- Renovating village war memorial is included in plans
- Current site is a 'disgrace to the people who gave their lives'
Didsbury Civic Society is raising funds for a new garden of contemplation to be built at the village war memorial.
The war memorial was unveiled just over 100 years ago in 1921 to honour the 174 local servicemen from Didsbury who lost their lives in the first world war.
The monument sits at the heart of the village, but in recent years the area around the memorial has seen better days.
Nicholas Bundock, rector for St James and Emmanuel Church in Didsbury set up a Crowdfunder towards the end of 2021.
It states: “The memorial is unnaturally fenced away and the land surrounding the monument has been overtaken by laurels and other invasive, low biodiversity, species.
“The current site of the war memorial is a disgrace to the people who gave their lives, and we can do much better than this.”
The plan is to spend £20-£30k raised from crowdfunding and grants to create a garden of contemplation around the war memorial.
The garden will have eco-friendly planting to attract insects, with low maintenance but sensory, fragrant or colourful planting.
Paths will be accessible by wheelchair with seating made from sustainable materials alongside solar-powered ambient light. The design could also include the potential for mounted art.
While the civic society is at the forefront of the initiative, they are not alone. Didsbury residents, Didsbury in Bloom, local councillors, council officers and St James and Emmanuel church have been meeting regularly to investigate how to improve the war memorial.
The redesign will take the form of a competition with designers asked to submit plans following a brief.
The project was begun last November to coincide with Remembrance Sunday.
Mr Bundock said: “I’ve always been surprised and amazed by how many people attend the memorial service.”
Remembrance Sunday “unifies the entire community”, he said, and is “one of the few times everyone seems to be represented”.
The war memorial is an important community focal point but one which “falls far short of what we think this monument and its surroundings could look like”.
The restoration group plans to engage the community at all stages of its design and implementation throughout 2022/2023.
Mr Bundock said: “We aren’t going to prescribe how the space is used, or what people reflect on, but it will be in the context of the war memorial and sacrifice for the greater community.”