Kinmel Bay Memorial Garden is a Labour of Love

A piece of derelict land has been transformed into an attractive memorial garden to remember residents of a housing estate who have passed away.

Cartrefi Conwy Chester Avenue Kinmel Bay official opening of Memorial Garden in memory of past residents; Pictured are members of the Green finger club; Karen Barrows, Pat Fitzgerald, Vin Murtagh, Ray Jones, Stan Barrows, Norma Roberts and Emma Abdelahalek.

Creating the garden was a labour of love for the volunteer members of the Green Fingers gardening group who live at Chester Avenue in Kinmel Bay.

It was officially opened by Owen Veldhuizen, the community regeneration manager for Cartrefi Conwy housing association who manage the estate of more than 100 homes.

The plaque unveiled during the ceremony bears the inscription: “In loving memory of residents past, gone but not forgotten.”

The garden was the brainchild of Stan Barrows, a Green Fingers volunteer and chairman of the estate’s Community House local residents’ association.

Stan, who also lives on Chester Avenue, came up with the idea of creating the memorial garden a little over a year ago.

“Now the work has been completed the residents have taken ownership of it,” he said.

Emma Abdelkhalek, Community House development assistant, who is also a member of the Green Fingers group, paid tribute to Stan and the other volunteers.

She said: “They have seen the project through since its inception.  It’s a brilliant scheme.”

Owen Veldhuizen, who performed the ribbon cutting ceremony, was equally enthusiastic about the contribution of the Green Fingers volunteers who also maintain planters and green spaces on the estate.

“An area of forgotten wasteland has been turned into something magnificent,” he said. “Green Fingers have done a fantastic job.”

Owen thanked Towyn and Kinmel Bay Community Council for contributing to the near £4,000 cost of the memorial garden, but reserved special praise for the Jewsons Community Fund which provided the bulk of the money.

The builders merchant was Cartrefi Conwy’s main supplier and, they established a fund to support community projects.

“They’ve been very generous and we probably wouldn’t have achieved this without the support of Jewsons and the community fund,” he said.

Ray Jones, secretary of Green Fingers who lives on Chester Avenue, said Vin Murtagh of Cartrefi Conwy was very helpful and obtained quotes from contractors, one of which was accepted.

“You normally find with this sort of project that getting the community interested is the biggest hurdle,” said Ray, who has lived in Kinmel Bay for eight years. “But if you find the spark everything flows from there.

“The memorial garden is on what was a derelict and vandalised piece of land. It was completely smothered by weeds and was a very sorry sight.

“Now it’s been transformed and is something that residents can be proud of. I’m delighted with what’s been achieved.”

Ray said that the group had help from Matt Stowe of Cartrefi Conwy to draw up the design for the memorial garden, and the rose bushes and tree were bought from Snowdonia Nurseries.

“When we saw the receipt we realised Snowdonia Nurseries had undercharged us,” said Ray. “But when we got in touch they told us to forget it and treat it as a donation, which was very good of them.”

Other attendees at the memorial gardens opening ceremony included several Green Fingers volunteers and supporters and Towyn and Kinmel Bay community councillors Jean McKenna and Barry Griffiths.

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