Harold Jones and the Forgotten Garden

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An appreciation by Ron Wawman, founder member and former Chairman.

I have always thought of Harold as a kindly, quietly spoken and self-effacing man who liked to keep himself busy, but it was not until 2008 that I began to realise just how much more there was to him.

At that time Harold was already an active member of the committee of the Friends of the Forgotten Garden. So it was that, when the newly-formed group was in considerable trouble because of serious illness, I as the then chairman turned to Harold to ask whether he would take on the job of project manager. I did so in some trepidation partly because he was not a young man but also because Harold had himself only recently recovered from heart trouble. I need not have worried because not only did Harold not hesitate to accept the onerous task but took it on with enormous enthusiasm.

Harold surveying the spring flowers
Harold surveying the spring flowers

For the next five years he worked tirelessly and with great energy, in the process transforming an intensely overgrown wilderness into the wonderful woodland garden and community facility we have today. On the way bridges and paths were built, umpteen weed trees cleared and archaeological finds made

Although he attracted a team of local volunteers and also, as necessary, brought in other groups of volunteers and professionals to help him carry forward some of the more difficult projects, he did much of the heavy work himself. I have vivid memories of fearfully watching as he waded into a stream that had turned into a raging torrent after heavy rain so that he could clear the debris that threatened to block a culvert. That was the sort of man he was.

Since Harold retired from the job a couple of years ago, others have carried on his good work. But, for many, the Forgotten Garden will always be his domain and a fitting memorial to him.


A Great Loss

The Friends of the Forgotten Garden join Ron in mourning the loss of a fine friend and colleague who did so much to make the place what it is today.