“I’m Robert Machin and I’ve been living in Stonehouse on and off for 40 years. Around 25 years ago, my mother showed me the Wantage Gardens site and since then, every Remembrance Day I have placed a wreath or laid some flowers at the memorial. In 2017 I decided to try to get more people involved and since then I’ve managed to get interest from the Royal Navy, Plymouth Live and last year ITV televised the Remembrance Day event at the gardens.
In November, I again advertised Wantage Gardens on social media and managed to gain interest from Stronger North Stonehouse and Inner City Seeds. This added support has been fantastic with the help of Helen Moore, Graeme Kirkup and Kevin Sproston. We have now made a lot of progress in highlighting the profile of the site and also made some improvements to the area.
Despite being seemingly on my own after all these years, it’s very encouraging to have people now working with me to make sure that the gardens are looked after, promoted and advertised to make sure everyone knows where the gardens are and what they are there for. With the help of the above-mentioned people, we now have seeds planted (poppies and daffodils) and also have four planters made for us which we will be filling with plants this week. We have also just received a donation from a lady for £100. The lady lives locally, and I only know of her as Rosemary. A big thank you to Mike Vosper for making the planters also.
There is now a Facebook page dedicated to Wantage Gardens, (Friends of Wantage Gardens). My aim is to attract as many people as possible to join us in making the gardens as popular as possible and to also take part in keeping the area clean and tidy. In the spring when the newly planted bulbs and seeds start to flower, along with the planters the area will have a whole new outlook to it. Hopefully encouraging people to take more interest in the area and its history.
Anyone who wants to join us can find us on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide you with any information you require.”