Fleetwood Park’s history is linked through the generations

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

It’s hard to imagine the huge trees which form a canopy over Remembrance Avenue in the town’s Memorial Park were once small enough to be planted by hand.

But Fleetwood man Darren Mooney is proud that his nan Abigail Sandham was one of the gardeners who actually planted one of the young saplings more than 80 years ago when the park, as it is now, was first constructed.

But the family links with the park don’t end there.

Little did the young Abigail know when she planted the trees, that three generations on, her family would still play a vital part in the upkeep of the park and also in one of the biggest groundwork projects ever undertaken.

Darren, of Fairway, is one of today’s park keepers.

His great-grandfather Robert Sandham, who died at sea during the First World War, is named on the War Memorial as one of the fallen.

And his father Bernard carved a career as a park gardener which spanned more than four decades.

Darren, 42, grew up on Park Avenue and knew the park inside out. He said: “I played in the park as a child and I’m pleased that my children and future generations can enjoy it in the same way.

“Local people have great pride in this park and there are many other families linked to it in the same way as mine.

“ I think it’s important that children understand why and what the commemorative aspects of the park stand for.

“I helped restore the rose garden in 2011 and I’m looking forward to being involved in all the work that will come with the forthcoming Lottery project.”

Darren’s story was uncovered during research by Friends of Memorial Park researcher Michelle Hargreaves.

She has traced the stories of those commemorated on the War Memorial and the children who planted the remembrance trees as part of a heritage project in an effort to piece together the community history of the park.

Work will start in April to transform the park thanks to a £2.4m grant.