The Tree of Life Memorial Garden which transformed a patch of brambles behind a Wakefield Church into a place for peace and remembrance has just won an award for best New Project at the Wakefield Civic Society.
The Tree of Life Memorial Garden behind St Helen’s Church, Sandal is for the internment of ashes for any resident of the parish. It was dedicated by the Area Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Tony Robinson at a service last October and last week the team behind the original piece of art work were celebrated at the Civic Society Awards.
The Tree of Life Memorial Garden was created by Huddersfield architect, Liz Ashmore and Doncaster sculptor, Dan Fraser Jones, from an idea of the vicar, the Revd Rupert Martin, with help from Richard Williams furniture designer and Tecni-build Building Contractors.
In presenting the award, the citation reads:
"The panel welcomed this unusual and brave departure for this type of endeavour. Propelled by the vision of the vicar, Rupert Martin, the piece consists of an original work of art by architect, Liz Ashmore, who is based in Huddersfield, and sculptor, Dan Fraser Jones, of Doncaster. The artist has sculpted the main features of the river, the fruit and leaves out of Kilkenny Blue Limestone, a wonderful stone. The seating, representing the throne of God in Heaven, is designed by Richard Williams of RW Furniture, also based in Huddersfield. Techni-build of Holmfirth were the Building Contractors.
Representing the trees of healing and the water of life, the panel felt the piece was a beautiful rendition and brought an old churchyard space into new use in an inspiring and poetic way: we particularly welcome the use of local talent and resources wherever possible.”
Said the vicar, the Revd Rupert Martin: “ It was been a delight to work with Liz, Dan and Richard and the team of Tecni-build, to create a beautiful and practical Memorial Garden which will provide a place of peace and comfort for parishioners and all who visit for many years to come. We believed its iconic shape and artistic design would be an inspiration to many and are pleased to receive this recognition.”
Pictured here is the artistic team with the Mayor of Wakefield, Coun Sandra Pickin at the Award Ceremony
The patch of brambles in Sandal Churchyard has been landscaped into the shape of a tree with symbolic sculptural features which reflect the verse in the Bible which speaks about heaven: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the peoples.”
The Tree of Life Memorial Garden can be found at the end of Sandal Churchyard, near an ancient chestnut tree, overlooking Oakenshaw Beck with Heath Common in the distance. It can be accessed from the main road down past the Church or from the nearby car park which is available when the Guy Salmon Land Rover garage is open.