Memorial’s Friends group to be set up

Local councillor Chris Ryan
Local councillor Chris Ryan

Members of the public are being recruited to help care for a memorial garden.

A meeting will be held later today with the aim of setting up a Friends of the Fylde Memorial Arboretum group.

We’ve got an incredible amount done over the years

The garden, off Moor Park Avenue in Bispham, remembers Fylde coast soldiers from the First and Second World Wars, and features artwork commemorating those put to work on the Thai-Burma railway after being captured in Japan in the 1940s.

Local councillor Chris Ryan said: “As Blackpool Council’s armed forces champion, working with the Fylde Ex-Serviceman’s Liaison Committee, we’ve got an incredible amount done over the past few years with only limited resources.

“The arboretum is the only one in the north and therefore is used by many service groups in the town.

“By setting up a Friends of Fylde Memorial Arboretum group, it will give us the ability to carry on the good work in maintaining and improving this site.”

As well as the memorial honouring those forced to work on Japan’s ‘Death Railway’ – given its macabre nickname because of the number of men who died building it – volunteers have been working hard.

The area was drained and path re-laid using stones taken from the Prom, while the area was tidied up ahead of a service due to be held there at the end of June.

Some of the 3,000 tree saplings, which were planted in 2009, didn’t grow due to the boggy conditions and were replaced.

Coun Ryan said the Blackpool Environmental Action Team (BEAT), which was responsible for the work as well as a memorial to the late councillor Jim Houldsworth, who dedicated his time to improving the arboretum, will be members of the Friends group.

He said: “The arboretum is a bit of a hidden gem but it’s starting to get recognition.”

This evening’s public meeting will be held at Blackpool Town Hall, in Talbot Road, from 6pm.