In April last year we were approached by Aylesford Priory and asked to provide the Makaton Symbol for Peace. The symbol would be part of a special pavement they were creating at their new Peace Garden.
The idea was that the entrance to the garden would have a pavement of peace tiles. They would be inscribed with the words for peace from over 200 different languages and act as a symbol for the peaceful integration of everyone in society – locally, nationally and internationally and represent a way to celebrate the richness of the people of the earth. The tiles were to be designed and made in the pottery within the grounds of The Friars.
The Peace Garden was the notion of Jayne Hoose. She had used The Friars as a place of escape when she was suffering from ME and wanted to give something back. She thought that creating a peace garden was a good way to do so. Her aim was to provide an open space that would be free to people who were seeking the sanctuary that she herself had found.
The concept was originally put forward in 2006 and fundraising began, kicked off by a generous donation from a local business of £1000 and the support of many others. In 2010 the project was awarded a Lottery Grant from Community Spaces and Groundwork UK and the work could begin.
The site chosen for the garden was the historic main entrance to the Friars Gatehouse, a ceremonial entrance used by the Carmelites when they returned to The Priory in 1949.
The garden was designed by Jayne herself, she wanted to create a quiet space that was accessible to a wide range of different visitors. The garden has four sections which take their inspiration from the elements of fire, water, wind and earth. Incorporated within the design, are a wide range of different types of seating and flat access for people with mobility problems and families with pushchairs or buggies. The garden also incorporates sensory features, using texture and scents to widen the gardens appeal and provide interest to people who are visually impaired.
The garden was officially opened on 29th April 2012 by Tom Hart Dyke, the English horticulturist and plant hunter. It is hoped it will take root and flourish, and become a haven for wildlife and for pilgrims who come to Aylesford seeking renewal, rest and simply ‘to be’.
Why not visit the Peace Garden and look out for the Makaton Symbol for Peace in the pavement? If you send us a photograph, we could include it with this blog!