By Billy Cockram. I worked for the youth centre for 17 years. Whilst I was there I built the memorial garden. This was a bare patch of land left over from when the youth centre was built.
We lost three young men in a short space of time: Wayne Goldsmith in 2000 and then Alan Stevens and Lee Webb in 2001. We decided to create the garden to remember them. Their brothers were still in the youth group and helped with the work.
We had a new Gym scheduled to be built so the garden couldn’t be started until 2003 when the gym was built. The centre arch was designed by Michael Webb, Lee’s brother. The arch was laid to its foundations by William Stephens, brother of Alan.
The fence circles were created by young people 2004/5 on a welding art project aimed for the remembrance of the young people for the garden.
We had few more art projects like the benches that was welded and sculpture by young people which were done in 2005/6, and we made 2 Word trees from metal. The youth remembrance garden sign on the wall of the centre was made by young people too. We planted all the plants, shrubs and trees and laid the turf. Some of the trees have seeded themselves naturally since the garden was designed.
I’ve maintained all projects and the care of the garden throughout the years. In recent years I have struggled with maintaining the garden due to a lack of tools. I still think it is a really important place for people in Southmead to remember their young people who have died. It is a place for everyone to use, to reflect and to enjoy.
Sustainable Southmead and Billy are going to give the garden a tidy up and clear on Sunday October 11th 2-4pm. If you would like to come and lend a hand, please email firstname.lastname@example.org