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.

 

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

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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.

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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.

 

Dove Stone Reservoir: Bessie Skye 1920 – 2011

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It was a very wet day when we set off to walk around Dove Stone Reservoir on the edge of Saddleworth Moor in Oldham, Greater Manchester.  We thought we would have the place to ourselves but the people of Greater Manchester are made of sterner stuff and plenty of them were out for a walk even in such inclement weather.

This bench with its lovely dedication, ‘After clouds sunshine’ caught my eye.  This is a Latin proverb, post nubila phoebus that reminds us that after bad times come the good times.  The phrase is also the motto of the University of Zulia, one of Venezuela’s most important university.  Here the motto represents the re-opening of the university after 42 years of closure for political reasons.

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Memories of Betty Skye 1920 – 2011 Who Lived, Laughed & Loved Here.  AFTER CLOUDS, SUNSHINE

 

I hope that I have found the correct obituary for the Bessie Skye this bench remembers.  The Bessie Skye (and it is a beautiful and unusual name) I tracked down was 90-years old and died in Cardiff in south Wales, a long way from Dove Stone Reservoir in Greater Manchester.  The obituary tells me that Bessie Skye was a much loved mother of seven children and was a great-grandmother.  A Just Giving page reveals that £570 was raised for the Stroke Association in memory of Bessie Skye from the Cardiff half marathon in 2012.  Why Bessie Skye ‘lived, laughed and loved’ at the beautiful Dove Stone Reservoir isn’t clear but someone out there will know more of her story.

Salford: Rachel Reed 28 May 1969 – 1 January 2015

Rachel Reed went missing from her home in Salford late on 1 January 2015 and her body was found the next day, as reported by the Manchester Evening News here.  Rachel Reed had very sadly taken her own life near to her home.

Her family erected a lovely memorial bench to remember Rachel’s short life, with her name, her dates of birth and death and a butterfly on the plaque.  This generous gift to the area is very much appreciated.  The bench has been well used by local residents over the summer months and lots of people who use it think briefly about Rachel while they sit and read, watch their children play, gossip with their neighbours or just enjoy the gardens.

The gardens near Rachel's home

The gardens near Rachel’s home

Rachel Reed 26 May 1969 - 1 Jan 2015

Rachel Reed 26 May 1969 – 1 Jan 2015

Wythenshawe Hospital: Margaret Taylor

We recently found ourselves spending time at Wythenshawe Hospital, after my partner was hit by a car while walking to work and required surgery.

Wythenshawe Hospital is huge and has benches along it’s stretches of corridors.  Many of these benches are dedicated to members of staff and patients.  This one caught my eye, as it remembers someone who gave many years of her life to working in the NHS and who is commemorated for her kindness and sense of humour.

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Wythenshawe Hospital

In memory of Margaret Taylor who worked within this hospital for 39 years.  She was well known and loved for her kindness and sense of humour.

In memory of Margaret Taylor who worked within this hospital for 39 years. She was well known and loved for her kindness and sense of humour.

 

 

Hyde and Hacking Knife War Memorial: Paul Underwood (1942 – 1996)

The war memorial at the top of Werneth Low is a marvellous view point over Hyde and Greater Manchester and a very fitting place to erect a memorial bench.  I walked here from Etherow Country Park; along the River Etherow and through the wood and out on to the lanes by the war memorial, this is a lovely walk and well worth the effort on a clear day.

The war memorial is a magnificent monument in itself and more information can be found here:

http://www.tameside.gov.uk/warmemorial/wernethlow

The memorial bench to Paul Underwood is a simple wooden bench without a back rest, that has weathered beautifully.  Paul Underwood died aged around 54 years in 1996 and the plaque gives a moving tribute to someone clearly much loved and missed.

Hyde: Paul Underwood (1942 – 1996) beside the Hacking Knife War Memorial on Werneth Low