The Peace Garden was opened on International Day of Peace, 21 September 2018 by The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Seán Keating.
The Bishop of Basingstoke, the Right Reverend Canon David Williams, blessed the garden and expressed his hope that the garden would symbolise the link between those past and present who promote peace and reconciliation.
The idea was to open the garden in 2018, the centenary year of the end of the First World War.
The aim of the Peace Garden Project was to create a lasting celebration of peace and reconciliation, which will provide a relaxing space in memory of all who suffered in past conflicts and which reflects our hopes for lasting peace in the future.
The garden was delivered by the Peace Garden Advisory Group, supported by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and local sponsors and donors.
The design is based around a circular theme reflecting ripples in a pond extending outwards. The paving and planting have been designed to create a calm and reflective space. A stainless steel gazing ball in the centre of the garden reflects the sun and clouds as they move across the sky.
The project was supported by local businesses and organisations:
- A total of £40,000 awarded from the Council's Local Infrastructure Fund.
- Developer contributions totaling £23,667.
- Public donations of funding from the Rooksdown Club £12,605, John Lewis Partnership £885, Basingstoke Heritage Society £300, Basingstoke Veterans £200, Debbie Reavell £75, Tammy Lake and Judy Brown.
- Donation of works and materials by Gristwood and Toms (tree surgery), Kieron Beattie Landscapes (tree and shrub planting and maintenance), Steven and Ruth Evans (donation and planting of bulbs), Wildflower Turf Ltd (supply of wildflower turf and seeds).
- Barrell Sculpture Ltd supplied the Barrell Pebble Seats.
- Rocon Ltd installed the paving and other features.
Children's design competition
Local schoolchildren entered a competition to create a design that illustrated “What does Peace mean to you?” The winning entries which were chosen by members of the Advisory Group were transformed into 10 bronze plaques which are set into the paving within the garden.
The opening of the Peace Garden
The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Councillor Sean Keating, Maria Miller MP, the Bishop of Basingstoke the Right Reverend Canon David Williams, the Peace Garden Advisory Group (Pip Iles – Chairman, Catherine Waters-Clark, Debbie Reavell, Stephen Evans, Stephen Pashley and Tammy Lake), Julia Beer (Sculptor), Dr. Andrew Bamji (Sir Harold Gillies Archivist), patients of Sir Harold Gillies, Landscape Architect Catherine Daly, Project Manager Margaret McGrath and winners of the children’s art competition.