New stone benches unveiled for Hastings’ Peace Garden

The new benches
The new benches

A garden in town set up to promote peace has received brand new benches for visitors to enjoy.

The three stone benches in Alexandra Park’s Peace Garden replace old wooden ones.

Charles Neal, who was founding chairman of Hastings Peace Garden Committee, said: “We have just replaced the benches with some splendid new stone ones, echoing the beautiful standing stone in the centre from Dartmoor, so, at last, more people can sit in the garden.

“We are waiting for the grass to grow a bit so the benches can be cemented to the ground but they are available for visitors to sit on now.

“The original benches, made out of oak, perished so we had to raise money to get new ones made out of stone.

“I was chairman of the Hastings Peace Garden Committee from its outset the day after the 9/11 bombings in New York in 2001 and we worked extremely hard for five years to raise funds, design and build the space for peace in Alexandra Park, now enjoyed by many residents and visitors.

“It was set up by Kevin Murphy, a healer, and since 9/11 happened we talked about making a peace garden, linking up with other ones around the world.

“Kevin sadly died just before the garden opened in September 11, 2006, which was officially opened by Charlie Dimmock.

“We handed the garden to Hastings Borough Council in perpetuity. Local artists created all the fences, gates, signs and benches.”

He said £5,000 was given to the council to pay towards the new stone benches.

The original log seats were built by Joc Hare.

The garden also has hidden messages dotted around it, promoting peace.

On Armistice Day each November children also plant bulbs in memory of the war dead.

Charles added: “The garden has been a big success with visitors since it opened.”

The Peace Garden is located by the rose garden in the park by Dordrecht Way.

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