Horsham District Council Chairman, Cllr Peter Burgess, welcomed everyone and spoke of the historic significance of the Garden of Remembrance before Father David Bouskill led a short service of remembrance.
Commenting on the service and the garden’s refurbishment, Horsham District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Jonathan Chowen, said: “It was especially poignant that some 100 years after the gardens were first established, and ahead of the 100th anniversary of the armistice, we gathered to hold this special service.
“It was also particularly touching to be joined by the youngsters of St Mary’s Pre-School and members of the various partnership groups who have helped the Council to guide this significant refurbishment project.
“My thanks go out to the Horsham Society and Denne Neighbourhood Council for their support with this project, and to Horsham Green Gym and the Horsham branch of Sainsbury’s for their strenuous efforts to make this beautiful garden happen.”
The St Mary’s Garden of Remembrance, and the Mill Bay area, have a long history as recreational open spaces in Horsham, dating back nearly 100 years when Horsham’s first female councillor, Nellie Vest Laughton, created the Garden of Remembrance in memory of her husband and to commemorate the First World War, enabling it to become Horsham’s first ever park.
In 2018, the gardens were restored and upgraded to ensure a quality that meets the expectations for a heritage site, such as this, so close to the centre of Horsham’s historic centre. The restoration was funded by developer contributions.
The refurbishment project was managed by Horsham District Council, working in close collaboration with the Horsham Society and Denne Neighbourhood Council.