Clifton now has it's Garden of Remembrance. Dedicated by the Venerable Paul Hughes, Archdeacon of Bedford, on Sunday 15th March 2009, the garden is situated at the northern end of the rear churchyard adjacent to Stanford Lane. The Garden of Remembrance provides an area for cremated remains to be buried, and a peaceful focal point for remembrance and reflection. It is a facility available for everyone in the village, regardless of religious belief.
The grassed area that is used for burial is encompassed by stone markers, engraved with letters and numbers, that allow each burial plot to be uniquely identified. It is calculated to be large enough for more than 2000 burials, indicating that the garden will be used for a very long time - a record is kept of the location of every burial.
The wall at the front of the garden provides a focus and allows memorial plaques to be mounted as a tangible reminder of those whose remains lie in the garden. The size of the wall has been restricted in different directions by both faculty and funds. The intention is that when all available space on the wall is used, it may be extended on both sides without restricting the space available for full size graves. Hopefully this will encourage future generations to assume responsibility for the garden and ensure it's continuing care.
The original double iron gates have been refurbished and are now set back from the road, allowing space for a hearse to stand when needed at funerals. New paths have been laid and disabled access is available from the Stanford Lane entrance - access has been made as easy as possible and those attending a burial of ashes service should not get muddy shoes however bad the weather.
Hedges have been trimmed, and some of the larger trees by the Church Hall have been reduced in the crown. The two fir trees by the roadway that were removed to facilitate the disabled access have been replaced by a new Scots Pine in the hedgerow, and two English Whitebeam have been planted to provide shade adjacent to the Garden of Remembrance.
All the rough hedging and rusted corrugated iron fencing by the Church Hall has been cleared and replaced by post and rail fencing with a new holly hedge planted inside. This now makes the area by the Church Hall much safer and more open - perhaps looking a little raw at the moment, it will mature and mellow in time.
It has taken over two years for the project to come to fruition; through initial proposals, visits to other churchyards, PCC approval, public discussion, faculty application, quotations, fund raising, grant application, construction work, planting, memorial benches and final cosmetic touches. Many people have become involved and helped along the way, and we now have a Remembrance Garden that already has a feeling of peace. As it matures we are sure it will prove a peaceful resting place for the departed and a suitable area for remembrance and reflection, both of the departed and also on our lives in whatever faith we follow.
There have been many generous individual donations towards the cost, benches have been donated, people have given their time and skills in repairing the large iron gates, and also providing supervision and advice. We have received grants from the Parish Council, the District Council and the All Churches Trust Fund. The suppliers and contractors have all shown generosity and flexibility and we would particularly like to thank Grasshoppers the main contractor, Squires the Monumental Masons, and Langford Garden Centre. We are immensely grateful to everyone who has provided support, financial or otherwise, in helping us build a fitting Garden of Remembrance for the whole village.
The Biggleswade Chronicle published a report of the dedication service on 20th March 2009. Click here to see a copy of the report.
A history in pictures of the development can be seen by clicking on Picture Gallery.
You will find a copy of the original proposal by clicking on A Garden of Remembrance. and there is also an interesting press report here.
Last updated 18th March 2009