RBLI are pleased to announce that we have surpassed our fundraising target of £300,000 to build a Garden of Honour dedicated to those who have, or still do serve, in Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.
Creating the Garden of Honour in the Royal British Legion Village in Aylesford, Kent, began in earnest in 2014 to mark the centenary of the Great War and to become a permanent and fitting national memorial to the dedication, bravery and sacrifice made by our Military Personnel.
This month, thanks to the tremendous generosity of people, groups and corporate donors, we have managed to raise £320,000 and we are now on track to put the finishing touches to the Garden.
Over the course of the last year, donations have been raised by both local and national companies and trusts, as well as from fundraising events such as quiz nights, concerts, tea parties, a brave zip wire challenge, and a very poignant sponsored cycle ride from Pegasus Bridge to the Menin Gate where a wreath was laid on behalf of our charity.
Our Chief Executive Steve Sherry is overwhelmed by the £320,000 figure. “We owe a huge debt of thanks to the hundreds of donors who gave their money and their time to make the Garden possible.
“It’s been a real privilege to witness the wonderful engagement from the local community in supporting our fundraising events and without whose efforts this project would never have got off the ground.”
The Garden of Honour is built on the site of the original Memorial Garden opened by HRH The Duchess of Kent in 1980. However, its unsuitability for larger events and for people with mobility issues meant it needed to be completely transformed.
Thanks to the vision of architect Andrew Clague from Clague architects, and Dartford based Construction Company GA Harpers, the new garden is fully accessible and has a bandstand, parade ground, amphitheatre seating, memorial square, flagstaff and an undercover area of raised gardens and flowerbeds.
The Garden of Honour in the Royal British Legion Village, Aylesford, Kent will be used as a location for events throughout the year, with particular focus on days of national and local remembrance, as well as being a place of reflection.
Steve Sherry continued: “I’m delighted to announce that while the official opening won’t take place until the Autumn, on 5 July the Royal British Legion held their annual Kent County Parade concluding in a remembrance service at the Garden of Honour – the first time this has happened in half a century.
“I’m also extremely proud to announce that following a grant from the War Memorials Trust to pay for the restoration of our war memorial – which has pride of place in the Garden of Honour – it has now been officially recognised as having national war memorial status.”