The first of June marked the end of 3 years planning and construction when ex Stoke City footballer Terry Conroy cut the orange ribbon and we were finally able to open Dan’s memorial garden at Audley Football Club. It was a bit daunting when we first saw the piece of land that the football club had given us, it was overgrown and being used as a bit of a dumping ground for rubbish and bricks etc. We genuinely didn’t know where to start or how we were going to fund turning it into a garden. As is the case with a lot of things these days social media came to the rescue. We put a request on Dan’s facebook page for someone to help us with a design and we were very fortunate that Mat Hennessey, one of Dan’s friends who has his own landscape design company based in London, agreed to help us. Having viewed the plot while he was in the area visiting family, Mat went away and produced a design for us which we were more than happy with. So we had a design with a shopping list of materials, now we needed some funding. The Building firm Jewson’s run an annual “building better communities” programme whereby small groups can apply to be considered to receive a share of £250,000 worth of building materials for small projects; Adam Clarke from the football club saw it on-line and sent us the entry form. I submitted a presentation pack which got us through the first selection phase. The garden was up against approximately 50 other projects from around the country who were all looking for funding. Following an internet vote and judging panel verdict we were over the moon to be awarded £10,000! This was in the form of a trade account with the Jewson’s branch in Congleton. So now we had a design and some funds – all we needed was to get started. Again we turned to social media for help and this is when we met Simon Turner from Miles Green, a self employed landscape gardener. Simon agreed to project manage the construction of the garden for us, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with over the past 12 months. His knowledge, skills and attention to detail have been fundamental in the creation of the garden and we can’t thank him enough for his efforts. It’s impossible to say how many hours have gone into turning that piece of wasteland into the garden it is today. A lot of people have given up their weekends and evenings to help out with it and without their help there is no way it would have been completed. We’ve made new friends because of the work on the garden and had support from places we never dreamt of. Who’d have thought we would have had a team of SKY TV engineers working on it for a day, but we did, thanks to James Burke. Ibstock brick from Chesterton kindly donated the bricks for the wall thanks to Craig Mason has built the wall in his spare time after work and at the weekends, despite having work to do on his own house. Yes, there were days and evenings when it was cold and raining and I was there on my own but that’s because it’s for Dan and that was the motivation, to want to see it finished and make as a good a job of it as we possibly could. That said we have been humbled by the passion and willingness to help by people who have families of their own. There is still some work to be done in the garden and we will be doing something on the bank behind it as well but we are very happy with how it has turned out. The plants supplied by Andrew Dobson of Boulton’s nursery from Stone have brought it to life. Thank you to everyone who has kindly sponsored some of these or provided others. People have helped in different ways but no matter what contribution you have made, no matter how large or small we as a family are indebted to you all. Thank you to the following for your help…Apologies if I’ve missed anyone Andrew “Tracker” Johnson; James Burke and the Sky T.V. engineers, Brian Wilson, David Malpas, Neil “Chooch” Martin, Fin Martin, Andy Laws, Adam Clarke, Brian Finney, James Royal, Danny Green, Jacqueline Evans and Ibstock Brick, Kev Jones, Craig “Dagger” Mason, Paul Mason, Dave Barlow, Dave “Coops” Cooper, Ben Cooper for creating the sculpture for the garden, Chris “owd” Hughes, Lesley “our wench” Palmer, Steve Palmer, Robert Edwards, Frankie & Millie Simcock, Sue Hughes, Kim Hughes, Eddy Middleton, Deane Jervis & Potteries Building Supplies, Andrew Dobson & Boulton’s nursery, David Knowles and the staff at Jewson’s Congleton. The garden is there for everyone to use and enjoy, it’s our way of giving something back to the very special people of the local community who have supported us since we lost Dan. We hope people use it, enjoy it and respect it. Pictured above shows Terry Conroy, with Sue my wife and myself on the memorial opening day. Dave Hughes on behalf of Sue & Kim.