A brand new memorial to honour the lives of all those who have served with Hampshire Constabulary has been unveiled at the Force’s Support and Training Headquarters.
The garden, which features a Hampshire rose sculpted fountain, prairie-style planting and seating areas, was officially opened during a special ceremony on Thursday 23 May by Lady Avril Hoddinott, the widow of former Chief Constable Sir John Hoddinott.
The project to bring this idea to reality began in 2015 and was led by a steering group consisting of Constabulary officers and staff, the families of officers and staff who have lost their lives, the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner, Sparsholt College, the Southampton Police Club Trust Fund, the Police Federation and Unison. The garden has been funded by Hampshire Constabulary, the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Southampton Police Club Trust Fund, and was delivered on site by Scandor Landscape Contractors Ltd under the supervision of Hampshire County Council Property Services.
Garden design students from Sparsholt College in Winchester were invited to present concepts to Hampshire Constabulary as part of their academic studies.
Three finalists were considered by a group of judges including Hampshire Constabulary Chief Constable Olivia Pinkney, Hampshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Michael Lane, Sparsholt College lecturer Chris Prior, and Detective Superintendent Paul Barton, representing the Southampton Police Club Trust Fund.
The winner was a design created by former Sparsholt College student Chris Hull who now owns and runs his own landscape design company.
Chris Hull's design was favoured because it felt welcoming and joyful with a blend of private space. The judges liked the inclusion of a cover in case of any inclement weather, the keen lines in the central part of the design, its scale, and the concept of water.
The memorial is situated in the grounds of Victoria House at Hampshire Constabulary’s Southern Support and Training Headquarters where it enhances an existing memorial garden.
Among those attending the ceremony were Dennis and Gillian Dawes, whose daughter Zoe worked for Hampshire police before her death in 1995.
Her ashes are now at Netley and Dennis said: “We’re delighted to see the garden finished. It’s been promised for a long time and now it’s really good to see it finished.
“This is a great place to come, we visit every weekend and the memorial garden will make it even more special.”
Their thoughts were echoed by Rosemary Drew who said: “It’s amazing, I’m so delighted. I come here often because we have a bench here inscribed with the name of our son James, who was with Hampshire police.
“It will be a lovely have this garden to come and sit and reflect. You need somewhere where it’s quiet and this is the most amazing area. They’ve done a fabulous job. It’s been a long time in the planning but it’s been well worth it.”
Inspector Sarah Clapham, who led the project, said: “The garden looks fantastic! I’m immensely proud to have been involved in bringing Chris’s winning design to life, and to have been able to give officers, staff and families a fitting place for remembering friends and loved ones. I would like to thank the members of the Steering Group for their hard work and support since we began the project in 2015.”
Michael Lane, Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I was delighted to be at the unveiling of the memorial that marks the service and sacrifice of our colleagues.
“Their family and descendants expressed a desire for a more private space and in response I am pleased that the new memorial garden is so fitting and a peaceful tribute that provides space for reflection and commemorates all the officers and staff of Hampshire Constabulary who have lost their lives.
“It is important to me that we recognise those people that run towards danger to protect us, and those that support our police service in everything they do. I am very proud to have played my role in selecting the design and providing funding to make this project a reality.”
Reverend Dom Jones, said: ““I was honoured and proud to have conducted a service of blessing and dedication for our memorial garden; this space which has been slowly in the making over the years, has now become a place of beauty, peace and remembrance. This land, which has, since 1990, provided a home for the Hampshire Constabulary can offer us a place to remember our fallen and be a place of rest, reflection and remembering.”
The garden designer, Chris Hull, said: “I had the pleasure of designing this garden as part of the competition held by Sparsholt College and Hampshire Constabulary. This garden was chosen by, and contained input from, families of people within the force who had passed away, which really gave the project a solid emotional grounding. The garden was most importantly designed to remember those who have lost their lives within the Constabulary, but also to create a relaxing space for people to enjoy and immerse themselves in. The idea was not to be sombre, but to offer a small pocket of sanctuary that can be enjoyed however someone may chose.
“The design of the garden is based on two main themes. One being the fact that the Constabulary uses the Hampshire crest as its badge and is one of only three forces in the UK that do not use the common Brunswick star force badge. To celebrate this the water feature sculpture and the layout of the garden mirror the Lancaster rose that sits within the Hampshire crest.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed working on this project and it has been a great collaborative effort from all teams involved.”
Mr Oliver Annaly, the sculptor of the Hampshire Rose sculpture fountain, said: “I have been a professional architectural stone carver for more than 20 years, working for many of Britain's top firms, before setting up my own business in recent years. On this project, I was given a photo of a rose model and had the task of designing it into the sculpture. The stone used black mountain red sandstone, which is a very hard, dense, tight grained, durable material, which is treated and polished to deal with water.
“It took more than five months to complete this sculpture, but I have enjoyed the challenge of the task.”