New Garden of Remembrance is opened

Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Stan Hardy, plants the first commemorative cross, with assistance from Eddie Morton, right.
Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, Stan Hardy, plants the first commemorative cross, with assistance from Eddie Morton, right.

VETERANS, dignitaries, bereaved families and members of the public gathered to mark the unveiling of Cleckheaton’s first ever Garden of Remembrance.

The garden, in front of the town hall, was officially opened on Monday by the Deputy Lieutenant (Ret) of West Yorkshire Stan Hardy.

The Spenborough Branch of the Royal British Legion president Eric Martin, MBE, welcomed those attending the ceremony and blessing which was conducted by the Rev Brunel James.

Afterwards wooden crosses were laid in the garden to remember loved ones.

The garden will remain until next week, but it is hoped it will become an annual feature of Remembrance commemorations in the town.

Among those attending were the families of Sgt Paul Douglas Oram who was killed in Northern Ireland in 1984 and who was awarded the Military Medal, and Cpl Stephen Smith who was killed by an IRA car bomb in Germany in 1989.

Sgt Oram’s widow, Julie, said afterwards: “The ceremony was really moving and the garden is a lovely idea. Memorials ensure that Paul, and others like him, will be remembered long after we are gone, for the sacrifices they made.”

Coun Margaret Bates, who was a son serving in the army, said: “It’s appropriate that we recognise those past and present who serve our country.

“This is the first garden of remembrance the Spenborough RBL has done and the wonderful turnout shows how much our forces are respected and cherished by the people of Spen.”

Eddie Morton, who is chairman of the Spenborough branch, said they were delighted with the public’s response to the garden.

“We hope it will become an annual event,” he said.

“Crosses can be obtained from the town hall for a donation and then placed in the garden.

“We would like to say a huge thank you to Kirklees parks department for their help in establishing the garden and all the work they do in Memorial Park to make sure it looks wonderful for all our Remembrance services.”