Eastbourne: Les Symons 1920 – 2018 & Lilian Symons

There are quite a few memorial benches along the sea front at Eastbourne.  I strolled along above the sea in the sunshine reading each dedication and waiting for one to catch my eye.  We were on our way up to Beachy Head, a wonderful viewpoint that was a landmark for German bombers during the Second World War.  They dropped any leftover bombs onto the town.

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The sea front at Eastbourne

This memorial bench to Lilian Symons and Les Symons, and particularly the inscription on the plaque to Les Symons, suggests two happy dancers.  Les Symons lived a long life and died at the age of 98.  His obituary says he was a teacher at Hooe Primary School and St Mary’s School (later Ocklynge Junior School).  Greatly missed by his family and friends, it was recognised that he would also be missed by those who met him on his regular walks along the prom.

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LES SYMONS 1920 – 2018 “Oh, how we danced”

The loving inscription to Lilian Symons is carved into the bench, whereas there is a plaque to Les Symons.  This suggests to me that Lilian Symons died before Les Symons.  I imagine Les Symons walking along the prom and resting on this memorial bench remembering Lilian Symons and perhaps re-living a dance in his head.

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Ruthven Barracks: Gordon Mackie 1944 – 2003

Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie in Scotland is an atmospheric ruin, the buildings open to the sky.  I always enjoy visiting this spot and thinking about its place in Scottish history.  Built on a prominent mound in the valley of the river Spey in the early 1700s, the barracks were part of the planning to maintain order in Scotland after the uprising of 1715.  Stand on the site of the barracks and you have a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.

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Ruthven Barracks

After the Battle of Culloden, Jacobite survivors gathered at Ruthven Barracks and heard that the rising had collapsed and Bonnie Prince Charlie was fleeing Scotland.  The Jacobites set fire to the barracks as they left.

On our last visit to Ruthven Barracks we walked up to the ruins from the car park and I noticed this memorial bench to Gordon Mackie.  The bench is the perfect place to sit and contemplate the layout of the buildings that remain at Ruthven with their mountain backdrop.  The plaque describes this as “Gordon’s View” and invites anyone to enjoy it.  Thank you Gordon Mackie!

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GORDON MACKIE 1944 – 2003 May all who rest here enjoy Gordon’s View

Lochranza: Paul Johnstone 1956 – 2016

The ruined castle on its grassy promontory and the steep slopes of the mountains make Lochranza one of the most spectacularly sited villages on Arran.  The sheltered valley follows the river down to the sea where seals and waders can be spotted.  Walk around the coast and you will find a collection of memorial benches.  The weather was as good as it gets when we were there and we saw Arran at its best.

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Looking across to Lochranza village

This memorial bench is placed perfectly to give anyone who chooses to rest on its slats a wonderful view across the loch to the village of Lochranza.  The bench remembers Paul Johnstone who died at the young age of 63 or 64.  The inscription says that he is, ‘Forever in our hearts’ and ‘Loved and remembered everyday.’

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Treasured memories of Paul Johnstone 1956 – 2016 Forever in our hearts you will stay Loved and remembered everyday



Saltaire: Shelley-Marie Armitage 22.9.78 – 26.4.2010

The West Yorkshire village of Saltaire is a favourite place to visit.  The elegant old mill has been restored and has lovely cafes and interesting shops and the rows of terraced streets are attractive.  On this visit, after the cafe, we crossed the canal and the River Aire into Roberts Park before walking up to Shipley Glen.  In a fantastic position overlooking the river, the weir and Salt’s Mill I found this moving memorial bench to Shelley-Marie Armitage.


Overlooking the River Aire

Shelley-Marie Armitage died tragically at the age of just 31 years.  Along with Susan Rushworth and Suzanne Marguerite Blamires, Shelley-Marie Armitage was murdered in 2010.  The brutal killer who took the life of these three women was arrested and is now in prison.  Shelley-Marie Armitage’s family will, of course, never forget her and this beautifully positioned memorial bench with its simple and poignant quote will touch the hearts of others.  I sat with Shelley-Marie Armitage looking over the River Aire for a while lost in thought.  When you visit Saltaire perhaps you can do the same.

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“Rest With Me a While” In Loving Memory of Shelley-Marie Armitage 22.9.778 – 26.4.2010