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Years with Albins: 14
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Barry’s Diary December 2011
Yet another Memorial Garden Service has passed – It was the 12th one this year and was a great success. It was a beautiful evening – not too cold this year (unlike last year) and was made very special as ever by the thousands that attended – Thank you all.
The joint planting of a Memorial Tree, to commemorate all the soldiers who have passed through Southwark on their final journey home to their families, will be a lasting and fitting tribute to their memory. The tree has one pebble for each soldier lost at the foot of it and has a lovely bench around it where one can sit and reflect.
There is a dedication plaque that reads:
DONATED AND DEDICATED ON 7TH DECEMBER 2011 JOINTLY BY
THE LONDON BOROUGH OF SOUTHWARK AND ALBINS
IN GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE OF THOSE MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES DURING THE CONFLICTS IN
IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND ELSEWHERE OVERSEAS
EACH ONE PASSING THROUGH THIS GARDEN AND THIS BOROUGH
ON THEIR FINAL JOURNEY HOME
This beautiful Pyrus Chanticleer tree (Ornamental Pear), which blooms three times a year, is now hibernating for the winter but in the early spring,will bud and bloom with new life – such is the circle of our existence.
Our sincere thanks to Mayor Lorraine Lauder, Councillor Peter John, Councillor Annie Shepperd, Councillor Peter John and Deputy Ian Wingfield for their special contributions to the dedication of the memorial Tree planted jointly by Albins and Southwark Council.
I would like to personally thank all the staff of Albins, who gave so much of their time, in particular to Greg who planned the service with me, my sons who assisted me in running it – well quite frankly every single member of staff – Bless you all.
I would like also to say a big thank you to our special guests The Lord Lieutenant Sir David Brewer and his good lady wife Lady Brewer, who promised me that a Lord Lieutenant or Deputy will be in attendance at every future Memorial Service – What a great honour!
Thanks also to our special guests from the MOD:
Group Captain Mike Heffron
Lt. Col. Mike Vernon and
Major Marcus Elliot-Square
Also our grateful thanks go to The Rt. Revd Christopher Chessun, The Bishop of Southwark and all of the Ministers that gave so much to the service.
As I look from my office window, I see the beautiful holly wreaths that families have also hung along the fence. This year I see that people are putting photographs on them in memory of their loved ones. It never ceases to amaze me the honour and love you show to the people you have lost.
I always think that the lovely lights around the trees in our garden, which have always been important to me, remind me that there is always light at the end of the journey.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a Peaceful & Sincere Christmas and New Year.
I will personally be opening the Memorial Garden and chapels on Christmas morning between 10am – 12pm – Do stop by and say ‘Hello’.
Oh – I nearly forget to tell you that I am going to be a Grandfather for the ninth time..!!
My son Jon and daughter-in-law Jane are expecting their fifth child in the early summer – How the Dynasty grows!!
Godspeed until we chat again.