Words by Ed King / Pics supplied by Erdington Rotary Club
On Thursday 21 September, Erdington residents and people from across the district are invited to the opening of a new Peace Garden at Spring Lane Playing Fields – organised by Erdington Rotary Club (ERC).
Anyone interested in attending has been asked to arrive at around 1pm, ready for the ceremony to begin in full at 1:30pm. The event is free and all ages are welcome, with light refreshments served by the ERC.
Unveiled in line with World Peace Day, the ‘place of peace and reflection’ will be housed in the playing fields’ ‘tiny forest and ecological area’ and is the first stage of an ongoing commitment which will ‘develop over the coming years.’
Dignitaries honouring the event will include Erdington Ward Councillor and Leader of Birmingham Conservatives Robert Alden, alongside the Rotary Club’s Immediate Past District Governor (IPDG) John Parkinson and Past District Governor (PDG) Margaret Morley.
Participants will be invited to plant a Peace Rose to commemorate the occasion, with dignitaries present further invited to address the crowds. Once open to the public, ERC are also keen to bring young people into the Peace Garden’s development, hoping ‘community participation’ will further underpin the project.
Peace Gardens are described by Collins English Dictionary as ‘a public park that is dedicated to peace’, and have an international legacy of representing nations and states situated together in a natural setting.
Whilst reports of the first ‘Peace Garden’ vary, many have been proposed and bult in the shadow of major conflicts, disputes, or disasters.
One of the most prominent Peace Gardens in England is located in front of Sheffield’s Town Hall, first built in 1938 and now containing several memorials for citizens of Sheffield who were killed in conflicts including in the Spanish Civil War and the Korean War – alongside both World Wars.
Sheffield’s Peace Gardens also contains a memorial to those killed at Hiroshima, after an internationally sanctioned atomic bomb was dropped on the city by North American forces in 1945 – reportedly killing up to 150,000 people.
Sponsored by the supermarket chain Tesco, who have an Express outlet at Six Ways near Erdington High Street, the Peace Garden at Spring Lane Playing Fields is part of the local Rotarian’s ‘Create Hope in the World’ agenda which sees the Club support many local charities and projects.
The project was further supported by £250 that ERC were awarded for environmental work with The Queen’s Green Canopy Project.
The idea for a Peace Garden came after ERC were awarded a peace pole for the work they do supporting Erdington Cricket Club and encouraging young people to play sport.
A spokesperson for Erdington Rotary Club told Erdington Local: “Club members decided to build the garden because we were awarded a peace pole by our District Leadership Team, this was in response to our very successful cricket project at Spring Lane.
“We all felt that it would be lovely for the community to have a place to meet within the local green space.
“We will be installing a bench so that people will have somewhere to sit for a while and in due course we will be planting a rose garden there as well, these will be Peace Roses and Rotary Roses.
“The garden will also be used as an educational opportunity to introduce young people to the concept of positive peace. We feel that such a facility is much needed in the modern world.
“This is a Rotary/United Nations project and has no religious or political affiliations, we hope that everyone will use it and that it will become a genuine community asset.”
Click here for more on Erdington Rotary Club – or visit their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100087397171800
For more on Spring Lane Playing Fields visit www.sports-facilities.co.uk/sites/view/6007466