Residents remember a much-loved community champion
01 July 2009
Friends and family of a much-loved community champion say he would have been delighted with a new garden that has been dedicated to his memory.
This weekend (July 4), many will gather to celebrate completion of the £125,000 regeneration project in Chamberlain Street, Shelton.
Named in memory of Arthur Garside, a former Chamberlain Street resident and member of the Upper Shelton Residents’ Association, the garden has been created using funding from RENEW North Staffordshire, in partnership with Sanctuary Group, Stoke-on-Trent City Council and local residents.
A former clearance area, the site has been transformed into a space for people to enjoy after residents were asked to pick their favourite garden design from three concept ideas by lead architects, Hulme Upright Manning. Work started on site in December.
Irene Whalley lived in Chamberlain Street for 54 years and was a good friend of Arthur’s. She said: “I knew Arthur for about 50 years – we were neighbours, and I know he would have been delighted with this garden project.
“Arthur’s Garden is on the site where my old house used to be and it’s great to know that my house wasn’t knocked down for nothing.”
Irene has now settled into her new home in a Sanctuary Group scheme at Etruria Lock, and is looking forward to meeting up with some of her old friends and neighbours at a party that’s being held to celebrate the official opening of Arthur’s Garden on Saturday (July 4).
Arthur’s sister, Sonia Williams, who lives in Blurton, said:” Arthur was very popular and it’s lovely that he will be remembered in this way. “It’s a beautiful little garden and people have put a lot of work into it. Arthur lived to help people in the community and he would have been very proud.”
Local artist Philip Hardacre designed and built a mosaic tile bench for the garden, and children from St Mark’s Primary School joined with residents to design and paint tiles for the seat.
Around 90 residents have formed a group to help take care of the garden and planting events over the past few months have encouraged as many people as possible to get involved in the project and take ‘ownership’ of the garden.
Councillor Brian Ward, Deputy Leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “This project is a great example of how RENEW is working together with local people to preserve the community spirit that is evident in many areas of the city. Arthur’s Garden is not only a memorial to a dedicated local champion, but also a great outdoor space that will hopefully be the focus of community life for many years to come.”
Mark Birkin, Sanctuary Group senior development officer who led on the project, added: “It’s been a pleasure to work on the scheme with the residents and local community. The residents have really embraced what we have been trying to achieve and it’s great to see they will be taking a proactive role in looking after the garden by forming the 'Friends of Arthur’s Garden Group'.”