This blog tells about our member visits to the National Memorial Arboretum & Ness Botanical Garden. Club members from SI Chester took advantage of the beautiful weather in June to arrange some visits as a social event for members and family and friends to spend time together and went to the National Memorial Arboretum & Ness Botanical Gardens.
The first visit was to the National Arboretum in Staffordshire. In 2021 a Soroptimist Memorial was added to the Arboretum. Our club President Wendy, and Region President Susan were there, and Susan explained how the day went:
“A memorable day out at the National Arboretum was had by 35 Region members who travelled there by coach on Saturday 17 June 2023. Wendy and Susan made up the SI Chester contingent, as well as members as far-flung as Llandudno to Northwich and to Ellesmere Port.
It was a beautiful sunny day which enhanced our walks around the stunningly beautiful grounds, housing some 450 monuments to the forces and service industries. Wendy and I ‘saved our legs – and hips’ by firstly taking the tractor train to get our bearings on the vast site. It was well worth it as the guided tour pointed out special monuments and we were later able to visit on foot.
Of course, we couldn’t go there and not visit the Soroptimist monument (pictured) and see the surrounding gardens cared for by SI Tamworth. The largest memorial is to that of the Armed Forces and commemorates those who have died since 1948. Over 16,000 names are recorded on the memorial including those who have been killed whilst on duty, died in operational theatre or were targeted by terrorists. The names on the hundreds of panels are recorded in the same way, first by year, then by service – Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force, then in date order. Over 15,000 names were carved by computer when the memorial was created.
There is space on the empty panels for 15,000 more names. Since 2007, the names have been engraved by hand on the memorial on a yearly basis.
We had lunch in The Square surrounded by glorious planting, the Chapel and the trill of water. My memory of it will be the peace and respect it affords.”
Another visit was more local, when a number of members visited Ness Botanical Gardens in Wirral, and here Joyce tells us how it went:
“Six members of the Chester SI plus some family visited Ness Gardens for the first of our 23/24 social calendar events. Ness Botanical Gardens is the University of Liverpool Botanical Gardens site and covers 65 acres of mixed fauna, and habitats.
The members spent a happy couple of hours ambling around including the meadows with a view over the River Dee, the kitchen garden for tips on vegetables and fruits (for our President who is a keen gardener), and the general beautiful gardens with waterfalls and lots of beautiful trees and plants, practicing mindfulness in some cases. We then enjoyed the obligatory tea and cake after the wander around.”