A place of Peace to remember Aisling
On Sunday 17 June 2012 the bench was installed at St John's Pelham. With the kind help of Les Ebdon this solid Burma Teak bench was situated near the ruined wall at St John's Pelham.
The bench has a brushed stainless steel plaque inset that includes a Sparrowhawk and a poem we found that Aisling had written.
In the Summer of 2011 Aisling asked me (her dad Denis) where I went for my hobby of photographing local wildlife and birds. I suggested that that we could go for a picnic. At the time Aisling was not able to walk the distance so I asked Maj. Barclay for permission for me to drive the two of us to the ruin at St John's Pelham. We drove there in Carol's Jeep spread out a blanket and had a picnic - just the two of us. The picnic consisted of all of Aisling's favourites like, mini Pepperami, Babybel, Dr Pepper etc. Aisling commented on what a special place this was and that it had lovely peaceful atmosphere. However after a while she was not impressed with the number of creepy crawlies wandering onto our blanket asking 'isn't there anywhere we can sit here'.
Aisling always had time for the older generation and loved asking about their memories of the war. She was fascinated with history and old places and it just seemed fitting that we installed this bench at the place we had our last picnic. A place where people both old and young can come and rest and be at peace.
The significance of the Sparrowhawk stems from Carol (mum) asking for a sign that Aisling is OK. No sooner had she asked when a beautiful Sparrowhawk sat just feet away from our living room window staring in at us with big yellow eyes. Sparrowhawks have continued to turn up in unexpected places and at significant timings (even during a retreat in Spain).
When 'Auntie Heather' and Carol found the poem in April this year we were a little puzzled as to the significance of the first line 'I was born into a field of 65 roses' A quick search on Google revealed that the phrase '65 Roses' originates in a child's attempt to pronounce Cystic Fibrosis.
Aisling never shared this little 'secret code' and we feel it was right to quote this on the plaque followed by her signature.
St John's Pelham
Little is known about St John's Pelham - also known locally as 'Jonty Pelham'. The last inhabitants left sometime soon after 1900.
How to find the Bench
The bench is situated near a ruined wall and can only be accessed via at least a 2 mile walk via public footpaths. Two of the main routes begin at Whitebarns Lane or a footpath down the left hand side of St Mary's Church.
Here is a zoomable map showing the precise location.