A MEMORIAL garden dedicated to bereaved families as a place to remember children was officially opened on Saturday after more than £10,000 was raised in memory of a Mapplewell schoolboy.
Darton Academy pupil Lucas Fleetwood died aged 14 and had congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (CCTGA) - a rare condition that only affects just one in every 200,000 people.
Lucas’ parents, Daniel and Stacey Fleetwood, decided they wanted a less traditional resting place for their son and so after contacting Barnsley Council’s bereavement services, they worked to develop a memorial garden within Barnsley Crematorium’s grounds where families can go to remember their loved ones.
The ‘Forget You Not Garden’ has been landscaped and features above-ground cabinets known as niches, granite furniture and benches.
Its centrepiece is a granite post box where visitors can write on special paper infused with seeds - these messages will then be buried in the ground where they will grow into flowers.
The youngster’s family, friends and donors managed to raise almost £11,000 in his memory which helped fund the lasting memorials in the garden.
The contractor laid the paths and other groundwork free of charge, and another company agreed to provide materials for free after learning of the story behind the project.
Lucas’ dad, Daniel, said: “It’s absolutely blown us away to see the designs for the garden come off the page into reality.
“It’s just beautiful and has really exceeded all our expectations.
“We wanted this to be about much more than somewhere for us to remember Lucas, it will stand here for any families who may need it in the future and that’s why we did this.
“From the bottom of our hearts we’d like to thank everyone who helped fund and create this legacy for young people taken too soon.”
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, who cut the ribbon to officially open the garden, added: “I was honoured and humbled to officially open the Forget You Not Garden at Barnsley Crematorium in memory of Lucas Fleetwood.
“Lucas’ parents, Daniel and Stacey, have been tireless in their campaigning efforts in Lucas’ memory.
“Their efforts, and the extraordinary generosity of Barnsley people who contributed have made this garden possible.
“The Forget You Not Garden is a safe space for bereaved parents to remember children lost long before their time - and a peaceful, tranquil area that doesn’t dwell on the pain of loss, but on the celebration of life.”
Mayor of Barnsley Coun Caroline Makinson, who also attended the ceremony, added: “The story behind this memorial garden is such an emotive one, and while clearly it’s filled with sadness, it fills me with joy to know that this garden is brining comfort to Lucas’s family.
“I’m so pleased that it’s here whenever a family needs a quiet place to remember a young person.”