From eyesore to an oasis garden

The opening of the Billinge Memorial Garden
The opening of the Billinge Memorial Garden

A ONCE overgrown wasteland has been transformed into a beautiful remembrance garden in the village of Billinge.

The project was today declared triumph for the strength and determination of the local community to get the job done,

The eyesore land on Main Street underwent its makeover thanks to the efforts of Billinge East and West Residents’s Association, the town’s tenants’ and residents’ association, local councillors Sue Murphy and Joseph Pearson and a £15,000 grant from Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET).

After a small working party was established, the planning process began, and soon members of the three associations were working together to develop the project, including people of all ages from the community.

Stone walls were built at the front to match the originals and a garden with beautiful borders was established.

The garden incorporates a new path, which allows wheelchair users and parents with prams to make the most of this peaceful retreat. At its centre, a monolith feature made from stone, originally from Birchley St Mary’s Old School, was donated by Carl Liptrot.

Billinge Parish Council also played a part in the work by donating three benches for people to sit and reflect. Billinge and Seneley Green Ward Committee fund agreed to make up any shortfall in costs, a very generous pledge.

St Helens Council is also credited with assistance with funding applications, dealing with legal issues and co-ordinating meetings amongst interested parties, while ensuring the wishes of the working party were taken into account

Jane Allcock, chairman of the Billinge West Residents Association, said: “The new Remembrance Garden is a real asset to Billinge and a symbol of what can be achieved when our communities work together. It offers a peaceful place for those who have lost loved ones in conflict. War veterans can also sit and reflect, remembering friends who have been lost in combat.

“All our volunteers, from many associations, have worked very hard to make this garden possible, and work will continue to keep this garden looking beautiful year round. None of this would have been possible without the grant from ICET, for which we are all very grateful.”

Angela Haymonds, Secretary of ICET said: “The Billinge Remembrance Garden has transformed a derelict old site into a beautiful place for tranquil reflection that can be enjoyed by the community.”

Angela continued: “This is just one of the many community projects Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust has funded.”