Wednesday, 2 May 2012

April Showers

Tom Hart Dyke cuts the ribbon and opens the Peace Garden

The Peace Garden is now well and truly open! The official opening took place on Sunday and the day dawned with torrential rain and howling winds. In fact the winds were so bad during the night that several slates had been blown of the roofs and several heavy branches had fallen from some of our many trees. It looked as if it would be a disaster! However, in the end all was well when the sun emerged on cue as everyone gathered for the opening.

About 200 invited guests gathered in St. Joseph’s Chapel for a little ceremony to mark the occasion. The Deputy Mayors of Tonbridge and Malling Borough, where Aylesford is situated, and Maidstone Borough, graced the occasion. Both Deputy Mayors are due to become the Mayors in their own right very shortly.

Tom Hart Dyke had very kindly accepted the invitation to formally open the Garden. Tom is a well known television presenter and contributor. In his family home of Lullingstone Castle in Kent he has created the “world garden” where you can find flowers and plants from many parts of the world. His story is very interesting. He and a friend went off to Colombia to hunt for a rare orchid in a rather remote part of that country. Colombia has suffered for a long time from political unrest and one of the armed groups came across our intrepid hunters.  The group naturally thought that Tom and his friend were spies and captured them but were very surprised to find that they had no weapons. The group was nomadic and held Tom and his friend in very primitive conditions for almost a year. At one point they were told that they would be executed in five hours and so Tom got to work to draw something he had been planning in his head for a long time. This was the beginning of the “world garden”. As soon as he got home he made it a reality.  

In his speech before he formally cut the ribbon to open our Peace Garden, he referred to his own experience and to Jayne Hoose’s idea for our garden emerging from a period of ill health. Jayne managed to gather a large group of volunteers and enthuse them. They were responsible for fundraising and for planning the whole day. We are grateful to so many people, not only for the Peace Garden, but for everything they do to make The Friars, Aylesford, such a special place.

This is not only a prayer in stone but is also expressed in our gardens. Above all it is the people who make Aylesford such a wonderful place.

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