Royal visitor opens Memorial Garden

HRH The Duke of Kent at the Tonbridge Memorial Garden

HRH The Duke of Kent at the Tonbridge Memorial Garden - Credit: Archant

HRH The Duke of Kent attends opening ceremony of the refurbished Tonbridge Memorial Gardens

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent unveiled the commemorative stone during a service of re-dedication at the official opening ceremony of the refurbished Tonbridge Memorial Gardens in Bradford Street. Over the past decade, particularly since the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, attendance at the garden for the annual Remembrance Sunday Service has increased year on year. However, the diminishing identity of the garden as a memorial and the deteriorating condition of the memorial wall, paving and planting as well as restricted disabled access led to the creation of The Tonbridge Memorial Gardens Trust in 2010.

The Trust launched a campaign to raise the funds to carry out the refurbishment works, with the success of the project relying on the generosity of local people, businesses and organisations, many of whom were present at the ceremony.

Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council put in £25,000 to start the ball rolling and with the assistance of the Trust, external funding grants and contributions from local housing developments the project cost of just over £200,000 has been met.

The garden has also been enhanced by a statue called The Torch, based on designs submitted by three Hillview pupils who worked with local sculptor Guy Portelli to create a vision of remembrance from the perspective of the town’s youth. RBL youth officer Pam Mills organised the project.

PICTURES BY: MANU PALOMEQUE