D-Day Revisited is proposing a commemorative garden installation to mark the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Landings. The ‘D-Day 75′ Garden will be exhibited on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea at the 2019 RHS Chelsea Flower Show, which will take place 21st-25th May.
With surviving Normandy veterans now approaching 100 years of age, this garden will provide a unique opportunity to celebrate our wartime generation and for visitors to hear the incredible stories of the men and women who experienced it first hand. We are therefore appealing to the public to help them bring this garden to life and create a lasting tribute to our treasured veterans.
Designed by multi RHS gold medal winner John Everiss, the ‘D-Day 75′ Garden is budgeted to cost £200 000. 50 veterans will be invited to take part in the 6 day event and £50 000 will accommodate them, their companions and essential medical support volunteers in central London.
Following the RHS Chelsea Flower Show it is the dearest wish of the surviving veterans, such as 97-year-old Bill Pendell MM pictured above, that the garden be relocated to a permanent site at the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer in France. We will therefore look to raise an additional £40 000 to ensure this legacy.
Each donation, no matter how small, is hugely appreciated by the charity and the Normandy veterans. Just £5 will pay for two of the 10,000 ‘Sea Thrift’ plants which are so intrinsic to the garden design.
D-Day 75 Garden Design
A garden installation to allow the visitor to pause, reflect and learn…
Two life-size sculptures will bookmark the entrance to the 32m x 12m ‘D-Day 75’ Garden and narrate the scene which unfolds behind them. To one side a veteran, modelled on Bill Pendell MM, is sitting on a stone plinth proudly wearing his medals and beret. Hand carved from a single block of Millstone Grit by renowned sculptor Thompson Dagnall, Bill looks across at a fragile, dreamlike metal figure of himself as a 22-year-old pausing before rushing out of the water and up the beachhead.
In this moment the 75 years which separates one man from another is bridged and spectators are invited to consider how it must feel for veterans to reflect on the intense experiences they endured on D-Day and the days that followed.
Beyond veteran Bill, a further 15 stone plinths stretch out towards the Royal Hospital Chelsea, each bearing a word or sentence that captures the D-Day experiences of 15 veterans. The plinths will be surrounded by a carpet of over 10 000 Armeria maritima ‘Sea Thrift’ plants, which would have been seen by the troops as they embarked on the south coast of England and again as they pushed inland off the Normandy beaches.
Behind young Bill, four waves break on the beach, each progressively taller than the last. Four similarly fragile figures struggle out of the water desperately trying to avoid shell holes and defensive obstacles placed by the occupying forces.
Backed by the RHS, the Royal Hospital Chelsea and the families of Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower, this project has already received countless goodwill messages. With your support, the ‘D-Day 75’ Garden will provide a memorable platform for international audiences to engage with and celebrate our surviving Normandy veterans.
If you would like to make a contribution to the project but prefer to do so by post, please make your cheque payable to “D-Day 75 Garden” and send it to: D-Day Revisited, The Armoury Building, Hawarden Aviation Park, Flint Road, Chester, CH4 0GZ.
We thank you for your support… #dday75garden
We are so very sorry to announce that our dear friend Bill Pendell passed away on Saturday. Bill was a kind and modest man, with a twinkling smile and an enormous zest for life which was truly infectious. His loss only strengthens our resolve to make this garden a reality in his memory. We are proud to have known him and in turn we hope to do him proud next year.