The Centenary Garden Story – Brian Freeston

In a small corner of Snoxhall Fields, Cranleigh, something beautiful and inspiring has been created. It is a garden to commemorate all the local lives lost in conflict over the last 100 years and is designed to attract those of us who would like a moment of reflection or just a quiet space to enjoy a chat or a snack.

The project has been a great success and has become a valuable asset to the community.

Getting the idea off the ground proved to be difficult. The impetus originally came from the need to protect Snoxhall Fields from development, as an old parish council – who owned the area – had been thinking of selling. Luckily an election was forced and there were enough good-thinking councillors to agree to protect the recreation fields with the national body ‘Fields in Trust’ who put a covenant on the deeds.

In March 2017 an exhibition was held in the Band Room to show off our idea for a garden, now the protection was in place. There were numerous business plans and budgets, but unlike the resistance in council, people and local companies were incredibly generous in their donations of materials, equipment and money. Best of all volunteers came on board to help design, build and now to maintain the garden – but we always need more!

We completed in time for the formal opening in November 2018.

Stage Two is to help bring the community together in story-telling, to create a ‘Listening Project’ with local accounts of conflict, at Home or at the Front. These stories can also be ones passed down in the family. They will be collected and presented as an archive online as well as in the garden where a special listening seat will be built.

The garden is located behind and to the left of the Leisure Centre in Cranleigh.

The author will be very happy to be contacted by anyone who would like their own or their family stories to be recorded for posterity. Telephone: 01483 277832.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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