Cumbernauld commemorates WW1 as town’s Memorial Peace Garden is opened

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 15:08 on 12 August 2014.
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The granite entrance pillars were donated by the Co-operative Funeralcare.                                                                                                        Picture: Cumbernauld Media.

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CUMBERNAULD Community Memorial Peace Garden was officially opened on Sunday 3rd August 2014, 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 such a befitting memorial to the men and women, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country – which will be maintained by the community in the years ahead.

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 Environmental Society; and, Hope Community Garden – in addition to the assistance of various businesses which have donated equipment items, funding and services either directly or in kind.

AG Barr; Co-operative Funeralcare; Cumbernauld Action 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 – that has been managed by a sub-committee steering group of Cumbernauld Environmental Society. 

After all of the groups, invited guests and members of the public had assembled at the  Memorial Peace Garden – 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 Garden open. 

When opening the Garden, Lord Lieutenant  Michael  Gregory  spoke 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.”

Robert Johnstone, Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society paid thanks to the variety of businesses, groups and individuals who’ve helped transform the former derelict site into a memorial befitting of the millions who’ve died in various military conflicts – and presented Mr Gregory with a wreath, which he laid on behalf of the community of Cumbernauld at the entrance of the Garden.

As part of the opening ceremony of the Memorial Peace Garden, the Lord Lieutenant was joined by Shannon McCluskey, better known as ‘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.

Commenting, Robert Johnstone, Chair of Cumbernauld Environmental Society said he was “absolutely delighted” with the Garden’s official opening.

He added: “The official opening of Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden was down to a great team of determined individuals, who were aided by a number of fantastic businesses, groups and organisations.

"Everybody seems delighted with the progress of the project – and the results of the labour of the many people who’ve helped the project turn a derelict piece of land into a stunningly befitting memorial to the men and women who’ve 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 financial services; and, I’d also like to thank the many businesses who have helped the project too.”

The official opening of Cumbernauld Community Memorial Peace Garden marks the end of phase one of the project, which now moves forward onto phase two – which will span four years, in the run-up to the centenary of the end of the First World War, when an event will be held to mark and celebrate the end of the Great War, one-hundred years on.
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