RESIDENTS of Rathmore Manor were joined by South Antrim MP William McCrea on Monday, May 13 for the official opening of their new sensory/memorial garden.
The garden, which has completely transformed the grassed area at the rear of the Alpha Housing scheme, cost almost £10,000 to create.
The project at the Knockview Road facility was funded by the Big Lottery, with donations also being made by the families of two former residents, Etta Wilson and Ella Creighton, and Alpha Housing.
Etta Wilson was a tenant of Rathmore for almost nine years from January 2003. She died in November 2011, one month after celebrating her 90th birthday.
Ella Creighton was a tenant for just over seven years from March 2004. She died in May 2011 aged 86.
The two women struck up a great friendship and spent many hours together in the garden.
Members of both the Creighton and Wilson families attended the ceremony to mark the opening of the garden, which has stone paths and wooden benches set among a number of raised beds containing a variety of colourful and fragrant plants.
The official duties were performed by Dr McCrea, who unveiled a special plaque marking the occasion. Also in attendance were Mayor Victor Robinson, officials from Alpha Housing, residents of the supported housing scheme and Chris McElroy from Lodge Landscapes, who designed and built the garden.
A commemorative plaque fixed to a wooden bench in the new garden reads: “The sensory garden is dedicated to the memory of our ‘constant gardeners’ Ella Creighton and Etta Wilson”.
The garden was dedicated by Rev Pauline Lorimer of Whiteabbey Methodist Church, who was Mrs Wilson’s minister.
“Etta and Ella’s love of nature can be seen in the glory of the garden even though they are gone. What a lovely legacy they have left us,” she commented.