2nd November 2011:

The memorial garden is now coming up for two years since construction began. Here it is in autumn mellowness. Regular maintenance and planting by ‘The Friends of TCMG’ (see below) has kept the garden and its surroundings looking good. The space is used by villagers just as we had hoped.


The Project as at November 2009:

The St Peter’s Thurleigh Parochial Church Council has been looking at solutions to resolve the issue of lack of burial space in the churchyard. It was proposed some time ago that a memorial garden should be established in the graveyard where ashes can be interned and name plaques laid.

The garden is planned to be in the far corner of the graveyard overlooking surrounding countryside. It should be somewhere peaceful and as beautiful as possible, with seating and disabled access, a garden available to the whole community.

Plans have been drawn up and have outline planning permission. The central interment garden is a circular dry stone wall with integral seating. It is surrounded with paths, more seating and planting.

The total cost of the garden, including structure, paths, seating and planting will be around £20,000. Grants have been applied for, and received, but further contributions are needed to cover the full amount. Preparation and construction work has already begun, so we need your help to see the Thurleigh Village Memorial Garden completed.


The Project, now called Thurleigh Community Memorial Garden, was completed June 2010. Built, planted and opened to great acclaim. Even the CPRE have taken a keen interest – see photos and progress below.

Those involved in the setting up, planting and maintenance of the Thurleigh Community Memorial Garden met on 6th October 2010.

They decided to become “The Friends of Thurleigh Community Memorial Garden”, or “Friends of TCMG” for short, and the logo above representing the basic shape of the structure was adopted to identify the organisation.

The Friends propose to meet at 9.30am on the first Wednesday of each month, starting February 2011, in the Memorial Garden for a monthly working party to do planting, weeding and generally looking after the Garden.

They are looking for anyone else who would like to become a “Friend of TCMG”, either to join in with the practical work or to donate plants, bulbs or money to help them keep the Garden at its best.

If you would be willing to help in any way or would like further information please phone: Wendy Armitage 01234 771016. 

This page records in photographs the stages of the construction of the Village Memorial garden so you can see the transformation.
The sequence of photos has been reversed. Latest photo now at the top with oldest at the bottom.
Use the Quick links to go directly to the bottom and back to the top of this page, or scroll through.

Go to end of page    Click to go directly to the bottom of this page to see the beginning point of this project.

YES! – 11th Dec 2010

We acheived a Silver Award from CPRE Bedfordshire.


Wed 8th Sept 2010:

Are we up for an award?


CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) were interested in our memorial garden project from design, materials, ecological, community use and other aspects, and wished to view the garden. There’s a CPRE competition every year between selected projects and CPRE gives awards.

They visited us on 8th Sept 2010 and here they are with their clipboards, cameras and questions. We won’t know the outcome yet, but there’s a presentation and awards evening in Renhold on 11th December (not 4th as previously indicated).



Sat 26th June 2010:

The official opening and the end of the project!!

Bedford Borough Councillor Ian Clifton cuts the ribbon to officially open the memorial garden. Ian was instrumental in helping us get grants from the council which enabled this project to go ahead. Rev’d Ian and Rev’d Nicola McIntosh were also there as the project began and was encouraged during their time in this benefice. Refreshments were served and Colin Parlett entertained us with his guitar playing on this lovely warm summer evening.

The following morning at the 11.15am benefice and joint service in St Peter’s Elizabeth blessed and dedicated it into God’s use. It will become a valuable quiet space and a place to view the lovely countryside. A place to sit and think, or just sit! A place to mourn. A place of peace. Please use this space – it is for you.

The first burial of ashes in this new garden was Friday 2nd July.


Mon 21st June 2010:

The new paths have now been surfaced with resin bonded gravel. This is the last building job and completes the project – the garden is now ready for the opening at 6pm on Sat 26th! Come if you can – all welcome.


Wed 26th May 2010:

Planting time! Jules directs the alignment of a new tree, and a group of people led by Wendy have put dozens and dozens of plants in and around the garden. It’s looking very good and the weather was helpful with rain that evening. Thanks to dedicated watering during the recent hot spell the turf is looking green and lush.

The Bishop of St Albans will be there for a confirmation service on the 21st June – I’m sure someone will show him the garden. It will be officially opened on the 26th June with live music and refreshments.


Wed 10th May 2010:

Turf has now been laid around the structure. A rota of people will ensure it is watered if there is no rain. Doesn’t it look good? It’s got just over 6 weeks to settle and grow into place before the big opening.


Wed 5th May 2010:

The five or so headstones disturbed by the works and temporarily laid flat on the grass have been reset in the ground in a line by the lower fence.

The webmaster has just learned that the Memorial Garden will be officially opened on the evening of Saturday 26th June and at the 11.15 benefice service on the 27th it will be blessed and dedicated into God’s service. Full details in due course.


Fri 30th April 2010:

The ground has been cleared and topsoil has been added around the structure to level it up with the paths. The paths still need their top grit surface, but turf laying and some planting will take place first.


Fri 16th April 2010:

Little has happened over the last couple of weeks. Some clearing of debris and removal of equipment has been done. Wendy is arranging some volunteer help on Tuesday 20th April to clear the ground further. Help needed and appreciated. This is before a load of topsoil is brought in to bring the surrounding ground up to the required levels. After this the pathways will be finished, moved gravestones repositioned, and planting can begin.


Thurs 1st April 2010:

1: We can now really see what it’s all about. The stone capping is done, the bench is done and the protective sheeting is removed. Just the pathway to surface when the concrete is dried out, materials and equipment to clear away, and topsoil (20 tonnes Mark told me) to lay around the contruction for levelling, seeding and planting. I think they will also repair the main church pathway as it has been damaged by the traffic caused by the works.

2: It’s all curves. A really beautiful design beautifully built.

3: (below) What’s going on here? Who or what is under the sheets? Will we like what might be revealed?



Fri 28th March 2010:

The decision about the new capping for the walls was made. Not pebbles, but to use flat sandstone matching the seating. Virtually all of the many stone pieces have been cut and those on the outer wall cemented into place. Also the seating for the bench is done.

So a lot of progress has been made in the past week although much is under protective sheeting whilst is dries out. Not much more to do now in terms of construction.


Fri 19th March 2010:

Not a lot has been done this week – the stone bench base is completed and the section of wall affected by the removal of the capping is repaired, but the next stage is probably awaiting the decision about the new capping.


Fri 12th March 2010:

1. The capping on the wall was not liked and was difficult to make – so it’s coming off! The plan may be to replace it with larger pebbles, but the webmaster (sticking his neck out!) suggests flat stone capping to match the central seating would be most likely to please everyone. To be decided.

2. The bench at the end of the pathway is now being put together. It will be curved giving a choice of viewing angles for those using it.


Sat 6th March 2010:

1. A close-up of the central circular stone seating.

2. The pathways are now all laid, although some areas are still covered to protect from the night frosts, but the top resin and grit coating to finish the paths cannot be applied for a few weeks yet. The stone bench will be built by the fence at the far end of the pathway in this second picture to give the views over the village and fields beyond.


Mon 1st March 2010:

The central circular stone seating is now revealed and the laying of the surrounding pathways continue. The stone capping of the walls has also begun using the small pebbles. With favourable weather at last progress is good.


Sun 7th February 2010:

Some discussion is going on about how the top of the walls are to be finished off, but in the meantime the central floor has been concreted (under the sheeting) and the surrounding pathways marked with wooden edges and the edges of the grass area prepared with soil.


Mon 1st February 2010:

Overnight heavy frosts and the occasional snow shower continue to affect progress. Some materials have arrived on site, but no obvious construction work in the last week.


Mon 25th January 2010:

The heavy frosts and further snow falls stopped work during the first half of January. Here we see that some extra progress has now been made. The soil bank has been put into the structure and will be the interment garden. The stone capping on the walls and the stone seating in the centre still need to go in, then the surrounding paths and benches and the planting.


Mon 4th January 2010:

The snow just before Christmas and the heavy frosts right through to the New Year unsurprisingly stopped work – so here is the Memorial Garden in the same state as before Christmas. Seriously sub-zero temperatures continue so resumption of work may be delayed.


Sat 19th December 2009:

Snow has made things more difficult for the contractors, but the beautifully laid stone walling is virtually complete. York stone seating needs to go in and then the walls need filling with soil to complete this central structure.


Tue 15th December 2009:

The profile (slope) of the actual interment garden within the circular walls can be seen now that the end walling is in place.


Fri 11th December 2009:

The inner circle now has the stone cladding and seating well under way.


Fri 11th December 2009:

The stone walling is now going around the outside circle


Wed 9th December 2009:

Just like a jigsaw puzzle, careful thought is give as to how the stones should be fitted together to give a strong wall.


Wed 9th December 2009:

Sandstone pieces have been delivered and here Mark is selecting them and breaking them to give a good facing edge for the wall, yet leaving enough stone to acheive a proper fixing into the wall.


Wed 9th December 2009:

Despite a very nasty wet Monday progress is good. The outer ring is started and some drystone walling is going up.


Sat 5th December 2009:

Building has started. The innermost central circular structure takes shape. Stone walling and stone seating will cover these blocks.


3rd December 2009:

The whole area now has a hardcore base (crushed road surface). Under the green sheet you can see that some building materials have arrived, including blocks which will be the base of the drystone walling.


2nd December 2009:

The pathway from near the church entrance is cut and a hardcore base put down.


2nd December 2009:

Several tons of old stones in the churchyard have been re-used to raise the level at the bottom end of the main area where the garden will be built.


2nd December 2009:

The area has been cleared and some gravestones moved . Compare with the 16th November picture.


1st December 2009:

Wendy discusses the plans with Mark, one of the contractors.


1st December 2009:

The work begins – the first spade cuts the frosty ground, and then the heavy machinery follows.

Memorial Garden


16th November 2009:

Some clearing work has already begun near to the proposed Memorial Garden site. When not taking photographs or drinking coffee, the webmaster assisted Les, Richard and John to clear along the bottom boundary of the churchyard. This area will have weedkiller in the spring before being returned to grass. It will then be planted with trees, shrubs and perennials and there will be the opportunity for friends and relatives to add a plant in memory of someone.



16th November 2009:

Here is the location within the graveyard where the Memorial Garden will be built, the main construction being beyond most of the gravestones in the picture and partly where rough overgrown ground can be seen. Five gravestones will need to be moved to the side to create space for the central stone structure. The rest will remain as part of the garden. There will be four seating areas providing views of the garden, Church, interment structure and the surrounding countryside.


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