First sod cut as work starts on new South Ribble park

WORK: Hospice staff, councillors and council officers cut the first sod in the new park
WORK: Hospice staff, councillors and council officers cut the first sod in the new park

Work will begin this week to create a new park for the people of South Ribble.

St Catherine’s Park in Lostock Hall is being formed by joining together two pieces of land: council-owned Dandy Brook Park off Watkin Lane and a plot belonging to St Catherine’s Hospice.

The plans include a war memorial paying tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War and a peace garden. There will also be a natural play area, information stations, carved wooden animals and parking spaces for cars and bicycles.

The two plots of land are currently separated by a brick wall, but will be linked by an ornamental gateway and a specially-commissioned WWI-style Inglis bridge. The bridge is being re-cast from one of the world’s only surviving examples by Coupe’s Foundry in Higher Walton.

The peace garden and war memorial will sit in the corner of the park near to the Stanifield Lane roundabout. The centrepiece will be a 40ft monument carrying the names of more than 600 soldiers from South Ribble who lost their lives in battle. It is due to opened at a dedication ceremony in time for Remembrance Day.

Coun Phil Smith said: “In South Ribble we are known for our parks and open spaces and this will add to our repertoire of green spaces to be proud of.

“I’m especially excited about the creation of this wonderful memorial dedicated to those who lost their lives fighting in the First World War as this will be the first time many of these people have had their names officially recognised for their sacrifice.”

Stephen Greenhalgh, chief executive of St Catherine’s Hospice, said: “This project, along with the opening of The Mill café and community hub last year, is about opening the area up to more people, breaking down barriers and anxieties that can exist around hospices, and offering a place of reflection for those returning to St Catherine’s to remember a loved one. For younger generations, the memorial will draw in schoolchildren to learn lessons from the losses of WWI. One of those lessons is to help understanding around the loss of a friend or relative in a setting like St Catherine’s.”

The opening is scheduled for spring 2016.