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

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Spean Bridge: Alan R Reece 1927 – 2012

There is a lovely footpath that links the stunning Commando Memorial just north of Spean Bridge off the A82 with High Bridge, a ruined bridge that crosses the River Spean.  I was walking here in search of the Jacobites as it was across this gorge that the first shots were fired in the Jacobite uprising on 16 August 1745.

The impressive Commando Memorial was built in 1952 to commemorate the soldiers who trained in this area before and during World War Two.  The views from the memorial are panoramic and this is a popular halt for visitors.

The made footpath below the memorial was built with funding from Alan Reece and this track makes reaching HIgh Bridge a pleasant experience these days.  The path follows some of General Wade’s military road to High Bridge, although this can no longer be crossed.

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The view over the river Spean

Follow the path and you will come to this handsome bench with a view over the River Spean gorge commemorating Alan R Reece.   Alan R Reece was a lecturer in agricultural engineering at Newcastle University and in the 1980s designed a ‘highly efficient undersea plough’ that helped protect underwater cables.  He continued to be based in the north-east and used the wealth his engineering companies accumulated for charitable purposes, including many for education and this footpath.  Alan R Reece was an enthusiastic mountaineer and almost completed all the Scottish Munros.  He died on December 31 2012 at the age of 85.

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Alan R Reece 1927 – 2012 Engineer and Mountaineer

Glenfinnan: Willison P Gibson 1932-1999 & Catherine Gibson 1934-2008

At the head of Loch Sheil in Scotland, the small village of Glenfinnan is popular with visitors for two reasons.  The Glenfinnan Monument, erected in the 19th century, commemorates the Jacobite raising of the standard on 19 August 1745 as Bonnie Prince Charlie made his bid for the British throne.  I was here to remember this historic moment but it seems that many people visit this area to make more modern connections.  The Glenfinnan viaduct spans 1,000 feet and is 100 feet high and, thanks to Harry Potter films, is a popular attraction, particular when the steam trains are running.

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At the base of the Glenfinnan Monument

We were lucky to be here on a glorious sunny spring day when undoubtedly Scotland is the most beautiful place in the world to be.  While we waited our turn to climb the steep narrow stone staircase to the top of the tower for the wonderful view over Loch Sheil I browsed along the memorial plaques on the benches around the base of the monument.

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For These Are My Mountains And I Am Come Home In Loving Memory WILLISON P GIBSON 1932-1999 & Catherine Gibson 1934-2008 Until The Twelfth Of Never We Will Still Be Loving You

These two memorial plaques on one bench to Willison P and Catherine Gibson caught my eye for their poetic story of a loving couple.  Willison P Gibson died in 1999 many years before Catherine and the plaque his family left for him conjures up a picture of a man who loved these mountains and called them home.  Catherine Gibson died in Livingston in 2008 aged 74-years.  They both left behind a loving family of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who will always have a link with this beautiful place.

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

 

Eye Kettleby Lakes near Melton Mowbray: David Southerington 1940 – 2006

If you fancy a bit of luxurious camping at a reasonable price then Eye Kettleby Lakes near to Melton Mowbray might just fit the bill.   This adult only tranquil site has individuals bathrooms that are warm and roomy with excellent showers.  The lodge-style club house is a comfortable place for breakfast or afternoon tea and in the evening you can enjoy the bar and occasional live music.  Just walking around the fishing lakes spotting wildlife might be enough exercise and is certainly lovely or you can walk through the Leicestershire countryside.  We strode out to Burrough Hill which is a fantastic view point and visited Melton Mowbray where those who aren’t vegetarians can buy local pork pies.

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The bench overlooks the fishing lakes at Eye Kettleby Lakes

If you stroll around the fishing lakes you might come across this memorial bench to David Southerington who is remembered with a smile for being, ‘Not overweight just not tall.’  Perhaps David Southerington liked fishing and spent happy hours in this peaceful place.

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IN LOVING MEMORY DAVID SOUTHERINGTON 1940 – 2006 NOT OVERWEIGHT JUST NOT TALL