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.

2018 March Devon Conversions meet Melton Mowbray (13)

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.

2018 March Devon Conversions meet Melton Mowbray (12)



Windermere: James Archie Galloway 1912 – 2003

It was one of those perfect days when the sun shines and the ground is hard and frozen; the tops of the Lake District fells were covered with a fine layer of snow.  From the town of Windermere we had a brisk walk up the hillside to the viewpoint on Orrest Head to warm up.  The climb got my blood pumping but it was cold on this exposed craggy top in the wind.  Despite the cold you can’t resist taking in the panorama from Orrest Head and we weren’t the only people out enjoying such a fine day.  The 360° views to the blue water of Windermere on one side and the Kirkstone fells on the other were stunning.


On the path up to Orrest Head above Windermere

On this popular path I found this simple bench in memory of James Archie Galloway.  The bench told me that James Archie Galloway worked as a Tree Warden in the Windermere area.  The role of the Tree Warden is a voluntary one co-ordinated by The Tree Council and there are many thousand across the country.  Tree Wardens gather information about local trees, encourage local projects and help protect trees in an area.  Trees are an important part of our landscape and ecology and I am grateful to anyone who gives their time doing this worthwhile and wonderful work.  I am pleased that James Archie Galloway is remembered for his contribution.


In Memory of James Archie Galloway 1912 – 2003 Windermere’s Tree Warden

Fleetwood: Ian Munro

If you’ve never been to Fleetwood I suggest you take a look at this Lancashire gem.  I have certainly had a soft spot for the coastal town of Fleetwood [north of Blackpool] for many years.  The town was planned and built from scratch in the 19th century and retains a gentile air.  The promenade has wide open views across the Irish Sea, the little ferry still runs across the Wyre to Knott End and you can stroll up to the top of The Mount and think back to the days when this area was just sand dunes.  We had walked along the seafront to the modern observation tower at Rossall Point and chatted to the friendly and knowledgeable bird watching volunteers there, returning through the Marine Hall gardens.  The Marine Hall is on Fleetwood’s waterfront and was built in 1935.  It was February and the gardens were tidy but didn’t look their best but I immediately noticed this memorial bench to Ian Munro.

2018 Feb Fleetwood (22)

Fleetwood Marine Hall gardens

Ian Munro was Head of Culture, Leisure and Tourism at the local council.  He died suddenly in the early days of 2017.  The memorial bench looks over the gardens of Fleetwood’s Marine Hall and tells me that Ian Munro’s hard work and dedication was appreciated by his colleagues and the people of Fleetwood and he is very much missed by them and his family.

2018 Feb Fleetwood (21)

in loving memory of Ian Munro whose legacy lives on at Marine Hall and in the treasured memories of his family, friends and colleagues


Blackpool: Harry Jones 1992 – 2013

Blackpool promenade in the sunshine is a wonderful place for a walk.  We had planned to take a tram but it was so sunny we opted for the fresh air and walked from Squires Gate to Blackpool Tower.  Blackpool has tidied up its seafront in recent years and if you haven’t been for a few years you wouldn’t recognise it today.

Along the way I found this memorial bench to Harry Jones.

2018 Feb Blackpool weekend (36)

The seafront at Blackpool near the Pleasure Beach

Harry Jones, a 20-year-old student, died tragically on 13 January 2013.  Harry Jones is described with love and warmth by his family and friends.  He was a bright young man who had a promising future and it is clear from the words of those who cared about him that this ‘Engaging, witty, polite and infectious’ young man will be very missed by his family and friends.  At his funeral friends described him as ‘Caring and loving’ and ‘The life and soul of the group. He will always be in our hearts and never forgotten.’  The heartbreak of losing a son and brother in such a sad way is hard to imagine.

2018 Feb Blackpool weekend (35)

In Loving Memory of Harry Jones “Shine Bright” 1992 – 2013

I sat on the bench to Harry Jones and thought about this young man and about other memorial benches I had picked out that remembered someone who had died far too young.  As I so often do on these occasions, I also thought about my own dear friend who died when we were both at school and she was just 14-years of age.  My own experience has taught me that Harry Jones’ friends will never forget him and some of them may take away the lesson that every day we are alive is precious.

Lytham Hall: Therese Seed 7.12.45 to 17.3.02

It was a splendid sunny day in February when we visited Lytham Hall to see the carpets of snowdrops that have naturalised around the woodland garden of this splendid Georgian country house.  The parkland and hall are being restored by the local community and volunteers greet visitors enthusiastically at the gates.  The parkland can be visited freely on weekdays and during February weekends snowdrop open days are held when the tearoom is open.  Snowdrops are the perfect way to brighten up a winter walk.

2018 Feb Blackpool weekend (26)

Lytham Hall gardens full of snowdrops

Among the snowdrops I found this perfectly placed memorial bench to Therese Seed who died at the age of 56-years.  Therese Seed’s family and friends must have chosen this spot overlooking the brilliance of the snowdrops as a lovely place to sit and remember her.  I certainly sat awhile here enjoying the view and wondering what Therese Seed’s story is.  Therese Seed appeared to live in Lytham as she continues to be remembered on the anniversary of her death in the church magazines for two local Catholic churches, Our Lady Star of the Sea and St Peter’s Catholic Church.

2018 Feb Blackpool weekend (25)


Salford: Courtney Eaton 06/05/91 – 06/09/08


The Bridgewater Canal near Patricroft

The Bridgewater Canal, opened in 1761, is named after Francis Egerton, the third Duke of Bridgewater.  He built this canal from Worsley to Manchester to transport coal and this was the first canal in Britain cut along a route that didn’t follow an existing watercourse.  Francis Egerton met with James Brindley, pioneering canal engineer, at the lovely Worsley Old Hall to complete the route through Patricroft to Trafford Park.  Today it is a lovely walk on a sunny day from Barton Swing Bridge to Monton and on the way, as I did, you will stop at this heartbreaking memorial bench to Courtney Eaton.


Courtney Eaton 06/05/91 – 06/09/08 The handsome, happy go lucky smiler.  We all love and miss u Big Man x

Courtney Eaton was just 17-years old when he was stabbed in the stomach on 5 September 2008 and died in hospital the next day.  The plaque on this memorial bench is a tribute to how much Courtney Eaton is loved and missed by his family and friends. Courtney Eaton’s parents described him as a ‘Fun-loving and carefree lad’ who was a motorcycle enthusiast and had recently left school and started work in his first job.

There are many tributes to Courtney Eaton on an online guest book; the messages of condolence from so many different people who have been touched by the tragic death of this young man are poignant and difficult to read.


Stromness, Orkney: George Mackay Brown

Orkney is a very special place and on a sunny day there is nowhere I would rather be.  Stromness is Orkney’s second largest town huddled around a sheltered harbour.  It is a charming place with stone cottages clinging to the shoreline and a winding paved main street behind these houses.  Walk along this shopping street and you get occasional glimpses of the sea and the busy harbour between the houses.  Behind this seafront the houses climb steeply up the hill and if you arrive by boat they appear to sit on top of each other.

Bench Stromness (2)

Stromness looking across to the harbour

On a gorgeous sunny morning we were exploring the many corners of Stromness and I came upon this memorial bench to George Mackay Brown in a garden south of the town.  I have been a fan of George Mackay Brown’s writing for many years and have read a number of his novels and I was pleased that his birthplace had erected a bench to remember this remarkable writer that had story telling in his blood.  He stayed in Orkney and this group of islands continued to be central to his writing.  He wove stories around the local myths, island characters and wildlife in his novels and poems.  He died on 13 April 1996 in the town that he was born in, Stromness.  In his lifetime he received many accolades; he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1977 and his final novel, Beside the Ocean of Time in 1994 was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received the Saltire Society‘s Scottish Book of the Year Award.

Bench Stromness (1)


“The imagination is not an escape, but a return to the richness of our true selves; a return to reality.” George Mackay Brown