independent

Friday 20 July 2018

Garden will be a place of solace for bereaved

Turning the sod at Ferrybank: George Colfer, Shane Cousins, Lorraine Smyth,Bernadette O’Leary, Mayor of Wexford Cllr Jim Moore, Borough District Manager Angela Laffan, Gerry Forde of Wexford County Council, Dara Hilliard and Simon Sinnott
Turning the sod at Ferrybank: George Colfer, Shane Cousins, Lorraine Smyth,Bernadette O’Leary, Mayor of Wexford Cllr Jim Moore, Borough District Manager Angela Laffan, Gerry Forde of Wexford County Council, Dara Hilliard and Simon Sinnott

Anna Hayes

Work on a new Garden of Remembrance at Ferrybank has commenced and is due to be completed by mid May.

Mayor of Wexford, Cllr Jim Moore was on hand recently to turn the sod on the new development which is situated across the road from the Riverbank House Hotel.

The garden is the brainchild of Bernadette O'Leary and Lorraine Smyth, who have been pushing for such a memorial for many years.

In 2012, the two women organised a candlelit vigil for the Furlong family following the death of Nicola Furlong in Japan. In the aftermath of that event, Bernadette and Lorraine had lots of bereaved parents asking for the event to become an annual one. The women, instead, suggested a more permanent memorial in the shape of a Garden of Remembrance for parents, families and friends who had lost young people through sad or tragic circumstances.

In the past six years, Ms O'Leary and Ms Smyth have worked tirelessly on the project, firstly to secure the site which they felt was the most appropriate location for the garden, and subsequently to get sponsors on board to cover the various works making up the garden.

A number of Wexford companies are lending their support to the project: the centrepiece angel statue is sponsored by Kent Manufacturing; seating will be provided by Liam Keating of Keating Insulation and Harry Hart; and the stonework will be carried out by Nolan Stoneworks, Ardcavan.

Ms O'Leary said they were over the moon that the project was finally coming to fruition and it is hoped that the garden would be opened on May 27 by Nicola Furlong's father, Andrew.

'We felt it was appropriate because the whole idea of having a Garden of Remembrance started with that vigil for Nicola. The garden is aimed at helping people who have gone through the grief of losing a child; we didn't realise how many people needed something like this until we suggested it.'

Ms O'Leary said the garden would be a place for people to find solace and comfort, acknowledging that while time was a great healer there were times, like family occasions, that people found tough.

'The grief process is different for everyone and there's no time limit on grief. Unless you've been in the situation, you don't know how hard it is.'

Wexford People

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