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BRANCH - Garden of Remembrance

Welcome to the Royal Wootton Bassett Branch - No. 2619

The Royal Wootton Bassett Branch of the Royal British Legion has a Garden of Remembrance situated in the local Cemetery in the town.  

Directions:-

This can be reached via Station Road and Tanners Close.  From the High Street take the turning into Station Road - opposite the Old Town Hall (Building on Stilts) and take the first turning left (at the the cross roads just before the Zebra crossing). Turn into Tanners Close. Proceed along the road passing the Bowling Club Ground on the right and travel straight down to the end. Ignore where the road bends to the left and still carry straight on - passed some garages on the left and houses on the right. (It may say 'No through road' - but don't worry just carry on).  Follow the road round - bending to the right and you will arrive at the Cemetery gates. The path from the Cemetery gates will take you to the Garden which is directly in front of you.

The Garden is a haven of peace within the calm of Royal Wootton Bassett Cemetery and many people now use it to sit quietly with their thoughts on the benches provided, after tending the graves of their loved ones situated in the Cemetery.

The dedication of the British Legion's Garden of Remembrance took place on Sunday 14 October 1990 by the Rev. J. Hopkins, who was at that time, the Padre to the Wootton Bassett Branch.  It was the culmination of 5 years hard work by Branch members, initiated in 1985 by a suggestion from Mr. Ken Scott.  As the time came for the demolition of the derelict chapels in the cemetery a committee was formed under the leadership of Mr. Tom Lewis who was Chairman of the Branch at that time, and negotiations commenced with the Town Council.  Agreement was quickly reached as to the form and shape of the Garden, and plans were submitted by the Branch, and accepted by the Town Council.

Once plans were accepted, intensive fund-raising commenced headed by the Chairman and his Committee together with other members of the Branch and the garden began to take shape. 

A considerable sum was raised and through correspondence with veterans of the 452nd Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Army, stationed at Lime Kiln during the World War II, a generous donation of $1200 was received. 

The appointed Contractors (D.J. Builders) were generous too and offered to complete the project, although sufficient funds had only been raised to pay for Phase 1 at the time.  They agreed to receive outstanding payment as and when the money was raised.  At that time the sum of £3,000 was still outstanding, plus further monies would be needed for whatever was required for a centre piece in the Garden, but the Branch Members were confident of completing the necessary task of fund-raising and this was achieved with the help of a generous public.

Many Branch Standards of the Royal British Legion were present at the Dedication and the unveiling of a plaque took place.  This dedication ceremony completed the original unveiling of the Garden by the Mayor of Wootton Bassett, Councillor Doreen Tanner, which had taken place earlier during the month of June 1990.

Over the recent months the Garden has been refurbished in a Project covering 3 phases. 

A new stone open-book Monument was the first phase. It is in honour of all who gave their lives in both Wars and in other conflicts. Phase 2 was the removal of all the old bushes in the Garden beds and replacing them with Rose Bushes which were sponsored by Members of the Branch and other generous donations from various people. The third and final phase was the replacement of the grass with astro-turf. 

We have been very fortunate in having the offer of many volunteers helping to make this task possible. We would like to say a big 'Thank you' to them all.  We do appreciate everything you have done for us.  

Now our Garden of Remembrance has taken on a whole new look!  It is a place to be proud of. 0ffering  people, wishing to take a seat, to sit to reflect on their own thoughts in a peaceful setting.   

Each year prior to Remembrance Week the Garden is laid out with crosses and wreathes for all those on the Role of Honour (which can be found in the St. Bartholomew's Church and on the War Memorial in the High Street), both from World War 1 and from the World War II.   Crosses are also planted to mark all other Conflicts and Wars, including Iraq and Afghanistan, which have taken place since the ending of the Second World War. 

To mark the completed refurbishment of the Garden, the Royal Wootton Bassett Branch of the RBL will be holding a Re-Dedication Service in the Garden of Remembrance at 11.00am on Saturday 22nd June 2019.  Everyone is welcome to attend, a warm welcome is extended to you all.

 

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