Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden was officially opened on Sunday, 3rd August, by Rear Admiral Michael Gregory OBE, Lord Lieutenant of Dunbartonshire, who cut the ceremonial ribbon and declared the garden of remembrance and peace open to the public.
Sunday’s official opening brought an end to the first phase of a near one-year long community effort, led by Cumbernauld Environmental Society, and assisted by various businesses, groups, individuals and organisations to establish a befitting memorial to the men and women, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Groups involved with the project include 2496 Cumbernauld Squadron Air Cadets; 3rd Cumbernauld Scouts; Cumbernauld detachment, F squadron RTR, of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Battalion Army Cadet Force; Cumbernauld Rotary Club; and, the Royal British Legion. However, the list of local groups involved also includes Cumbernauld Community Forum; Cumbernauld Gardening Club; and Hope Community Garden; in addition to the assistance of various businesses and organisation who have donated equipment, granted funding, or provided services either directly or in kind.
AG Barr; Co-operative Funeralcare; Cumbernauld Action for Care for the Elderly (CACE); Denny Tipper Transport; George Beattie & Sons; Gillespies; Joseph Leckie and Sons; NHS Lanarkshire; North Lanarkshire Council; Ogilvie Homes; and Sanctuary Cumbernauld are some of the companies which have greatly assisted the project. As well as the project being developed and delivered by local people, the garden will also be maintained by the community in the years ahead.
Once everyone was assembled at the Peace Garden site, adjacent to Greenfaulds Bowling Club, Major Mary Wylie of the Salvation Army led the assembled attendees in prayer before representatives from the 2496 Cumbernauld Squadron Air Cadets; 3rd Cumbernauld Scouts; Cumbernauld detachment, F squadron RTR, of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders Battalion Army Cadet Force; and the Royal British Legion read one verse each from Laurence Binyon’s war poem, “For the fallen”. Thereafter, there was a piper’s lament, before the Lord Lieutenant cut the ceremonial ribbon, and declared the Peace Garden open, speaking of his delight at seeing the community of Cumbernauld coming together to mark such an important event in history. He told attendees that events were “happening all across Scotland, none less so than here, in Cumbernauld, where the efforts of the community have created such a marvellous memorial to the soldiers who were killed in the First World War”.
The Lord Lieutenant was joined by Shannon McCluskey, Miss Teen Galaxy North Lanarkshire, who released special homing pigeons, in recognition of the service given by these birds to ensure communications lines were kept open in the Great War. Also present at the opening ceremony were a number of Airedale Terriers who were specially bred during the First World War and served on the front lines.
Bobby Johnstone, Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society, paid thanks to the wide range of businesses, groups, and individuals who have helped to transform the once derelict site into a fitting memorial for the many who have been killed in action at home and abroad since 1914; and presented Mr Gregory with a wreath, which he laid on behalf of the community of Cumbernauld at the entrance of the Peace Garden.
Bobby said he was “absolutely delighted” with the Peace Garden, adding “Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden is down to a great team of determined individuals, who were aided by a large number of fantastic businesses, groups, and organisations; turning a derelict piece of land into a stunningly befitting memorial to the men and women who laid down their lives for their country. I am delighted myself with the progress of the Garden, and the result at the end of phase one. However, we now move forward on to phase two, in the knowledge that we have created a true community-led project, which will last for years to come.
“Furthermore, as Chairman of Cumbernauld Environmental Society, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank everybody for their support in helping us to deliver this wonderful project. I’d like to thank the various local clubs, groups, and organisations whose members helped on site; I’d like to thank the various sponsors of the project who’ve donated equipment or financing; and I’d also like to thank the many businesses who have assisted with the project”.
Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden can be found next to Greenfaulds Bowling Club, Ivanhoe Road, Cumbernauld, G67 4BH; and members of the public are welcome to visit the site at any time.