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Garden of reflection for Suffolk soldiers

PUBLISHED: 07:15 27 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:32 06 July 2010

Rebecca Gough

Many servicemen and their families have faced increasing challenges over recent years, but a new garden at a Suffolk RAF base could provide a small haven for those seeking refuge.

Many servicemen and their families have faced increasing challenges over recent years, but a new garden at a Suffolk RAF base could provide a small haven for those seeking refuge.

A group of gardeners and designers gathered at RAF Honington yesterday to begin the construction of a Reflection Garden, which will provide a relaxing space in the middle of the base.

Designed by John Shone, of Rutland and Willows near Oakham, Rutland, the idea was inspired by last year's Sandringham Flower Show where a garden was constructed in aid of the Help for Heroes charity.

An armoured vehicle was provided by officials at RAF Honington in exchange for the garden being dismantled and reassembled at the base, near Thetford.

That plan fell through, but Mr Shone, a show designer, gathered a group of contacts to begin work on constructing an alternative.

“This is the year for Help for Heroes, and I just thought somebody should do something,” he said.

“It won't be quite the same as the original at Sandringham, but it'll be a garden of reflection. It's coming together well and I've had great support.”

Mr Shone has raised £600 towards the garden so far, which will consist of a paved area, four benches bearing regiment badges, and various plants and shrubs.

He is hoping to raise a further £600 towards more plants and flowers.

Mess manager at RAF Honington, Shane Cosstick, said: “We've got a memorial wall for the guys who have fallen during recent conflicts, and it's an extension of that.

“We get a lot of visits from the families of servicemen who've died and it's somewhere they can sit and relax. Lots of people have been asking and showing bit of interest. It's been quite an interesting project.”

Anybody who would like to donate towards the garden should contact Mr Shone on 01572 75512.

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