Formby: Cerys Loughlin 4th June 1998 to 1st September 2014

The fantastic beach and dunes at Formby is a popular place at any time of the year.  We have visited often over the years and I have featured a bench from this wonderful place before.  Formby has so much, a long sweep of sand that is washed by the sea twice a day, hummocky dunes covered in plants and with low-lying areas between the dunes which form seasonal shallow pools, an important habitat for the endangered natterjack toads.  Backing the dunes and beach is a stretch of coastal pinewood where red squirrels are protected and hang on.

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Cerys Loughlin was only 16 when she died from leukaemia in 2014.  Cerys Loughlin went to school near to the beach at Formby and lived locally with her family.  Placing this lovely bench among the dunes and not far from home, family and friends will be able to visit as often as they wish.  The plaque is a beautiful memorial to Cerys Loughlin that is personalised and full of love for a daughter and sister.  

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Cerys Loughlin 4th June 1998 to 1st September 2014 walked this way with her Wheezy (and Billy & Belle) Our beautiful princess will always be in our broken hearts Mum, Dad and Bethany xxx

The Race for Life her school held in memory of Cerys Loughlin the year following her death raised a lot of money for charity, as did the Just Giving page her family set up. This generosity is love and kindness in action. I hope that these compassionate and big-hearted family, friends and community members helped Cery’s parents and sister face their grief.

Port Sunlight: Francis McKeown 23.1.2000

I am ashamed to say it wasn’t until 2017 that we eventually visited Port Sunlight on the Wirral in Merseyside and it was as lovely as I had been told it would be.  The village of Port Sunlight was built by William Hesketh Lever (1851-1925) to provide housing for the workers at his Lever Brothers factory [now part of Unilever] named after the Sunlight Soap made there.  Lever’s vision was for decent housing for his workers in a pleasing architectural style and he included bathrooms and running water in his houses, not something people took for granted at the time.  He called this ‘prosperity-sharing’ and aimed to ensure his workers felt secure and comfortable.  He campaigned for welfare reforms and a shorter working day for employees.  The village has many wonderful public buildings including the Lady Lever Art Gallery, dedicated to the memory of William Hesketh Lever’s wife, Elizabeth and the gallery contains some works of art from his personal art collection.

It was summer when we visited and after looking in the gallery we wandered through the wide tree-lined streets and colourful gardens.  The houses are picturesque, beautifully designed and carefully maintained and the peaceful atmosphere helps you forget the city of Liverpool is just across the river.  If like me you have been putting off visiting Port Sunlight then I suggest you get round to it as soon as possible.

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Port Sunlight on the Wirral

There are numerous memorial benches at Port Sunlight, it is clearly a special place to many people; I picked out this bench in the gardens leading up to the war memorial.  It is dedicated to Francis McKeown who died at the impressive age of 95-years and who is described as ‘The Village Sweep.’  The bench remembering Francis McKeown looks over rose bushes and to the houses on Queen Mary’s Drive.  My research hasn’t revealed if he was the local chimney sweep or cleared up the litter in the village but I am sure there is someone out there who will know why he is so fondly remembered.

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In loving memory of FRANCIS McKEOWN ‘The Village Sweep’ Died 23.1.2000 Aged 95 years

Formby: Leon James Quarless 1.9.88 – 2.9.14

Formby is one of those places we go back to regularly to walk along the sands and feel the sea breeze, search for red squirrels in the pine woods and explore the sheltered corners of the unstable sand dunes.  On our last visit I found this moving memorial bench to Leon James Quarless.  A story that ends with a young man dying immediately after his 26th birthday is never going to be a happy one but I was struck by the love and the joy in the words on the plaque on this memorial bench.  Describing the young man as ‘happy’ and ‘funny, loving and caring’, the message told me the many ways Leon James Quarless touched the world, as a ‘son brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, partner & best friend’.

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The sand dunes at Formby south of Southport

The bench has an open view towards the Formby dunes in a peaceful and sunny spot.  Leon James Quarless died tragically on the nearby railway tracks between Freshfield and Formby stations.  A young man who had been a successful footballer, playing for various teams including Walsall FC’s youth team.  Many floral tributes were left for Leon James Quarless over the railway line, showing how much he was loved and will be missed and how many lives he had touched in his 26 years.

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Leon James Quarless 1.9.88. – 2.9.14 TE A Happy, Funny, Loving & Caring Son Brother, Grandson, Nephew, Cousin, Partner & Best Friend On His Journey, Loved & Missed More Than Words Can Say. Our Hero Our Boy Forever Young