The Lady in the Park

There will be a celebration in the Mansion House next week to mark 10 years since the Stone Soup Project began in Cherry Orchard.

In the beginning the project had no name; if fact nobody knew it was going to be born!   In a small park between Cherry Orchard Crescent and Orchard Lawns there was a site where there used to be anti-social activity.  Sometimes fires were set there.  To prevent this happening DCC had placed two big boulders there.  They were an eyesore.

At this time the idea of Memorial Trees for the park was taking shape and became very real when a young man who lived nearby died tragically.  People began to donate plants and flowers and some young trees and shrubs were planted.  By degrees a Memorial Walk began to take shape.

Then one person suggested that it might be a good idea to develop a Grotto on the park because people would come to visit the Grotto when they visited their memorial trees and it would help to give them a bit of peace of mind.  The idea took on.  It was decided to use the two big boulders as the sides of a cave and to use rocks that were in a local garden to make the bridge between them.  Constructing the Grotto needed energy and enthusiasm and there was plenty of that.  The hard ground had to be dug out with pickaxes for the shrubs and plants which continued to be donated.   The boys with the horses supplied the manure for the soil.

Finally, a search for a statue of Our Lady took place with no success until a chance conversation with a lady who happened to be passing by and stopped to chat.   It turned out that she had a statue which had come from Lourdes and had been lying in a cupboard in her house for some time.

So ‘the Lady in the Park’ came to be.

Two men, who call themselves ‘The Lad’ and ‘The Grey-Haired One’ deserve great credit for starting this project and staying with it through thick and thin.   Credit also to all who supported it by helping in different ways.

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