Garden given a thumbs up

Members of the Motor Neurone Disease Society, including Coun Karen Henshaw and garden designer Liz Walton
Members of the Motor Neurone Disease Society, including Coun Karen Henshaw and garden designer Liz Walton

A garden to celebrate the fund-raising work of members of a motor neurone disease group has been opened at the front of a Fylde town hall.

The circular garden, in front of Fylde Town Hall in St Annes, has been planted with blue and orange flowers and features a large wooden ‘thumbs up’ carving to mark 30 years of work by Motor Neurone Disease Society members in Fylde and Blackpool.

Thirty years represents an incredible amount of help

A similar garden has already been opened in Blackpool’s Stanley Park.

Motor neurone disease (MND) disables people by wasting their muscles and reducing co-ordination between the brain and muscle tissue.

Coun Karen Henshaw, a former mayoress of Fylde, said: “Local members have an outstanding and longstanding record of providing practical help to sufferers across the Fylde Coast and the council is happy to publicly thank them in this way. Thirty years represents an incredible amount of effort.

“The garden is in the middle of the Town Hall lawn and will feature a wooden “thumbs up” carving by Keswick artist Stephen Hey.

“Stephen Hawking, of course, is well-known as a sufferer and his plight was well publicised recently in the film starring Eddie Radmayne – what is less well-known is that tens of thousands of people are in the same position.

“The ‘thumbs up’ has become a motif for MND sufferers as they can lose the power of speech – but can often retain the movement needed for a thumbs up. It can be their link to their friends and family and represents their will to fight on.

“It is a much misunderstood illness and planting such a garden is a way for Fylde people to appreciate the efforts of local volunteers.”

The carving has been placed in the centre of the garden and will be replaced – the flowers will remain – later this year by a cordyline palm tree in memory of Town Hall keeper Bernard Judge who died earlier this year, aged 78.

Bernard worked as town hall keeper until his death, having spent 30 years in the post.

In May wild meadow flowers and sunflowers were planted near the town hall steps and disability access ramp.