Watford Peace Garden
The Watford Peace Garden is a project of WIFA which was initiated in 2013 with the endorsement of the Watford Faith communities. It is situated in Cassiobury Park and has received the support of the Watford Borough Council through various grants. The Peace Garden was officially inaugurated on 29th March 2018 by Elected Mayor Baroness Dorothy Thornhill MBE. A team of volunteers headed by Jeff Bateman regularly meet to maintain the garden. The major features of the Peace Garden are the labyrinth, the Peace Arch and the many trees planted by the various faith communities.
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Watford Peace Garden
It was a lovely day and nearly 100 people came to the Peace Garden on that Sunday afternoon 9th July. Chair of WIFA Harjit Singh welcomed everyone and Yogesh Joshi, Vice Chair introduced the various speakers. Jeff Bateman (Watford Peace Garden coordinator) gave a short presentation on the history of the Peace Garden. It was followed by various speakers. MP Dean Russell’s message was about gardening being so good for mental health and the mindfulness of walking the labyrinth. Our next speakers were: Bella Stuart who gave us the basic design for the garden from what she saw of the existing shape of the land and the trees, Leo Taylor from Interfaith Network praised WIFA as one of the most active interfaith groups in the country and Isabel Crozier who manages Cassiobury Park was happy that WIFA and Green Gym can work together in the Peace Garden /Orchard. Jeff played his flute, the Gospel Manna Choir and folk songs from Sonya, a young Ukrainian girl with a wonderful voice, created a beautiful and uplifting atmosphere for a very special occasion.
Thanks also to Mayor Peter Taylor, Cllr Aga Dychton, and especially Cllr Rabi Martins, himself a Peace Garden volunteer who has provided the team with many volunteers over time, including teams from the NCS in the past, and TKMaxx who came the week before. He presented trowels and certificates to some of our long term and regular volunteers. Revd Tony Rindl, 'Vicar of Watford' gave a short prayer of blessing and Peter Taylor cut the cake.
So many people from all communities came together on this happy occasion. They spoke about how much they appreciated the Peace Garden as a place of peace and tranquillity where one can come, spend some time, relax, and reflect on life.
Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of the event.
P.S. Few days later Dean Russell Watford MP spoke at the House of Parliament about the benefit of the Peace Garden and the wish for a debate in Parliament. To view click here.
Wildfest was an event run by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust on Saturday 8th July 2023. It took place is Cassiobury Park, which is well-known for its varied and interesting willdlife and natural environment. The Peace Garden team ran a stall there, showcasing all the work that happens in the garden with help from community volunteers, and how the garden can be a centre for gathering for vigils, celebrations and much dedicated work together. While working in the garden, of course all sorts of plants and wildlife are noticed, as, working with Green Gym on Wednesday mornings, volunteers work for the best ecology possible. Stalls exhibited groups that manage bats, badgers, birds, butterflies, and the incredible wildlife that lives in the river, and advised on gardening for wildlife. There were activities for children and guided butterfly walks and bird spotting exercises.