Dodd, Lake District: Ruth Day 1948 – 2002

The view from Dodd, in the shadow of Skiddaw, is well worth the easy 5 km round trip from the Old Sawmill Tearoom car park.  The path takes you on tracks and paths through Dodd Wood, opening out near the summit to provide views over Derwent Water, Bassenthwaite Lake, Newlands Valley, the Solway coast and beyond.  Although this is a small fell that you might think is perfect for a dull day when the bigger fells are shrouded in cloud, it is really a shame not to enjoy this expansive and easily attained view in the sunshine.

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The view over Newland Valley

The day we walked up to the top of Dodd the summit was sprinkled in snow.  The sun was shining and, as it was mid-week, we had the hill to ourselves.  Sitting on a memorial bench enjoying the spectacular view was perfect.

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In Memory of Ruth Day 1948 – 2002 who loved walking these fells.  ‘We all look at nature too much, and live with her too little’ Oscar Wilde

I like to think Ruth Day would have enjoyed such a glorious day on the fells too and she accompanied us in one way as we sat on the bench erected in memory of her.  I always stop and think for a little longer when I notice someone died young and Ruth Day was only in her 50s when she died.  I think about the years of life the person didn’t get to live and the people who loved them and are left missing a partner, friend or family member.

This memorial bench is all about Ruth Day, the passing walker is given no clue about who erected the bench in her memory.  The quote from Oscar Wilde is beautifully appropriate for the person the memorial describes and for the place.  The quote comes from De Profundis, a long letter Oscar Wilde wrote while in jail in 1897.  The letter was to his lover Alfred Douglas, a letter Oscar Wilde was not allowed to post from jail.

It seems to me that we all look at Nature too much, and live with her too little. I discern great sanity in the Greek attitude. They never chattered about sunsets, or discussed whether the shadows on the grass were really mauve or not. But they saw that the sea was for the swimmer, and the sand for the feet of the runner. They loved the trees for the shadow that they cast, and the forest for its silence at noon.

I hope that Ruth Day had the opportunity to live easily with nature.

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Salford, Agecroft Cemetery: Kelly & Ronnie Williams April 2013

Salford’s Agecroft Cemetery, opened in 1903 and was originally called the Northern Cemetery.  The cemetery was created due to concern that Weaste Cemetery would soon be at capacity.  The cemetery is on the banks of the river Irwell and an embankment was included in the design to prevent flooding.  A more comprehensive history of the cemetery can be found here.

We last visited around Christmas when many of the graves at Agecroft Cemetery are brightened with flowers, candles, Christmas cards and other small gifts.  I always like to walk and take a look around Salford’s cemeteries at this time of year, you get a real sense of a community that remembers.

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Agecroft Cemetery

There are many memorial benches at Agecroft Cemetery but this particular one caught my eye because of the sentiment on the plaque, the family are keeping memories alive and tell us ‘You are not forgotten’ because they reminisce ‘And speak of you often.’

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WE MENTION YOUR NAME AND SPEAK OF YOU OFTEN GOD BLESS YOU MAM YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN.  KELLY & RONNIE WILLIAMS TOGETHER AGAIN APRIL 2013 “THE WARHORSE”

Kelly and Ronnie Williams are reunited on this bench.  I was intrigued by the words, ‘The Warhorse.’  Presumably this is a nickname and suggests someone with a strong character, someone with a long experience of battling through life, working hard to the end and succeeding.

 

Ashdown Forest:Luke Power & Tom Dawes July / Nov 1994 -14/09/2014

On a sandy ridge in the High Weald of East Sussex is a beautiful woodland.  A Norman deer hunting forest, today Ashdown Forest is visited by walkers and those seeking the places that inspired AA Milne and the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  Ashdown Forest is a stunning combination of woodland primarily made up of sweet chestnut, hazel, alder, silver birch, oak and Scots pine and open heathland with heather and low-growing shrubs.

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Looking over Ashdown Forest

It was a sunny early spring day when we climbed out of our campervan to explore this natural area.  Finding this memorial bench to Luke Power, 20, from Turners Hill, and Tom Dawes, 19, from Forest Row, I wanted to know more about these two young men.  Luke Power and Thomas Dawes were both motorcyclists who very sadly died following a collision with a Range Rover at Chuck’s Hatch on the B2026 at its junction with Wren’s Warren on Sunday 14 September 2014.

Linda Dawes, the mother of Tom Dawes movingly said, ‘Life goes on but Thomas will never be forgotten. He will always be loved and in our hearts and thoughts forever.  He was born to be wild.’

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Luke Power Tom Dawes July/Nov 1994 – 14/09/2014 In Loving Memory of Our Boys.  Truly Loved & Dearly Missed.  Forever In OUr Hearts & Thoughts.  Never Forgotten By All Their Family and Devoted FReidns XxXxXxX

The death of Luke Power and Tom Dawes at such a young age clearly devastated their family and also touched their friends.  The memorial bench I stumbled upon was erected following a collection at a memorial football match between a team of Sackville School teachers, led by Luke’s brother, and a team from the Forest Row Football Club.  The match raised the money to erect the bench near the spot where the two young men died.

Local bikers and friends arranged a memorial ride on a glorious September day.  One friend posted photographs on Facebook and paid tribute to the two bikers, writing, ‘If Tom Dawes and Luke Power could have been in there today they would’ve been in their element! Such a lovely day and an amazing turnout. Rest In Peace Boys.’  The photographs show a banner, ‘We ride together, We die together, Burn rubber not your soul, Our ‘Lukey’ Our ‘Tom’ see you in your garage.’  The number of people at the event show how loved and missed the two are.

Ribblehead: Sammy Chapman 1941 – 2015

On a glorious warm summer day there are few better places to be than the Yorkshire Dales.  We parked among the bustle at Ribblehead and left the crowds behind walking through the grassland below the slopes of Ingleborough to Great Douk Cave.  Hiking back along the slopes of Whernside, a hillside dotted with caves and sink holes, I was focusing on the stunning views to the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct with 24 massive arches.

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The view to Ribblehead Viaduct

On a lane I found this moving memorial bench to Sammy Chapman that gives a panoramic view over this wonderful countryside.  Sammy Chapman as she was known, or Marjorie Chapman, lived at the remote Scar Top Farm at Chapel le Dale.  Sammy Chapman died aged 74 years of age  and the Yorkshire Ramblers Club provided members with the details of Sammy Chapman’s funeral.  The plaque on the memorial bench gives a personal and thoughtful portrait of Sammy Chapman, the words conjuring up a picture of a loving woman in her farmhouse kitchen generously cooking tasty meals for her family and friends.

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SAMMY CHAPMAN 1941 – 2015 ENJOYED HER LAST HAPPY 40 YEARS AT SCAR TOP GREAT HOSTESS, SUPER COOK, WONDERFUL WIFE

Bamber Bridge near Preston: Jean Freeman

Even after many years of stopping to read the plaques on memorial benches, finding a memorial bench in a supermarket was a first for me.  We lived in Preston in Lancashire for many years and these days the Sainsbury’s store in Bamber Bridge south of Preston is often a convenient place to shop on our way home.  Walking across the car park I noticed a new addition to the supermarket.  There is now a memorial bench at the front of the shop looking over the car park.

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This Seat Is In Memory Of Jean Freeman Sadly Missed

The plaque on the bench gives me no clues about when Jean Freeman died and I can only guess that she worked in the Sainsbury’s shop.  I assume this memorial bench is a lovely gesture by her former colleagues and that reflects well on the supermarket but I might be wrong.

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Sainsbury’s supermarket at Bamber Bridge near Preston

Rivington Pike: Jim Evans 16.11.1955 – 28.05.2014

It was a glorious clear day last time we climbed up Rivington Pike.  We could see as far as Blackpool Tower and the Bowland Fells in the north.  It was some years since we have walked up to this fantastic view point and the paths have been improved recently.  To reach Rivington Pike you can walk through Rivington Terraced Gardens, 45 acres of hillside garden created for William Hesketh Lever of Lever Brothers, now Unilever, in the early 20th century.  Explore the many paths over the hillside and you will find the Japanese Gardens, the Pigeon Tower and an ornate stone bridge.  After the greenery of the gardens you emerge on to the moorland of Rivington Moor.  The tower on Rivington Pike is a local landmark that we always head for on our walks here and look out for as we drive up the M61.

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The two benches looking over the Rivington and Anglezarke Reservoirs

Jim Evans is remembered on two benches overlooking this splendid view.  He was clearly a man who was loved by his family and both they and his colleagues and friends wanted to remember him with a memorial bench.  The benches overlook the gardens and the chain of Rivington Reservoirs built in the 19th century to supply water to Liverpool.

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In Memory of my Husband Jim Evans (dearest pa to our girls) Who died age 58yrs on 28th May 2014 Jim loved the outdoors and he enjoyed this view many times!  We miss you more as each day passes. Love Sandra, Lauren, Charlotte xxx

Only 58-years-old when he died, Jim Evans is remembered on one bench from his family and another from his work mates at Flowtechnology UK.  This company distributes hydraulic and pneumatic products from their centre in Skelmersdale.

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In Memory of James Edward Evans (Jim) 16.11.1955 – 28.05.2014 Sadly missed by friends and colleagues at Flowtechnology UK Jim loved his walks around “Rivvy” and the local tea shops.

Plans are now afoot to restore Rivington’s Terraced Gardens with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund, United Utilities and others.  This will continue to be a much-loved place to visit for Lancashire folk.

 

Marbury Country Park: David Vodros 1st February 1985 – 16th August 2016

It was a cold but dry wintery day when we set off for a walk around Marbury Country Park on the edge of Northwich in Cheshire.  This is a fantastic area for a walk with so much variety there is no time to be bored.  We started out walking through the woods along the shores of Budworth Mere, spotting the pretty village of Great Budworth across the water.  We followed the canal for a short distance to the Lion Salt Works museum before walking back round Neumann’s Flash, stopping to look at the wildfowl and returning by the River Weaver and back to the canal and Big Wood.  This is a walk we’ve done before but I never tire of it.

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Looking over Neumann’s Flash

Walking around Neumann’s Flash on this grey day I found this memorial bench to David Vodros, a young man who is clearly much loved and missed.

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In Loving Memory of David Vodros 1st February 1985 – 16th August 2016, Forever In Our Hearts