Accrington PALS Memorial awash with colour, thanks to green fingered horticulture students  

Students from Lancashire Adult Learner’s Level 2 horticultural courses have been busy bringing the Accrington Pals memorial garden to life. 

Working in partnership with Hyndburn Borough Council the group of students and their teacher Kate Wels have been helping to plant hundreds of botanicals within the garden to bring the planting plan to life. 

The group of students worked tirelessly to complete more sections of the recently renovated garden. They were accompanied by members of staff from the Council’s Parks Department.   

Paving and lighting have been updated, and trees planted in the grounds already. Now the attention has shifted to the beds surrounding the Pals memorial. 

The Level 2 City and Guilds Practical Horticulture skills students are studying Horticulture at Lancashire Adult Learning, part of the Nelson & Colne College Group – which has been rated Number 1 in the country for adult learning, according to the recent National Achievement Rate Tables. 

The Accrington Pals memorial garden – in memory of the battalion who suffered devastating losses on 1st July 1916, the opening day of the Battle of the Somme – is not only an opportunity for the students to apply their new skills and horticultural knowledge, but also create something the community can enjoy for years to come.     

Kate Wels, a tutor with Lancashire Adult Learning, said: “I’ve had two groups involved – the first from Accrington and Rossendale College, and today’s group from Nelson and Colne College. The group are planting the yellow section of the planting plan today. It’s really nice that they’ve invested their time to add to such a great project.” 

The scheme aims to create a greener, more inviting space that honours the area’s rich heritage while fostering communal well-being.   

Kate added: “We’re having a lot of nice comments from people walking past. People are really happy to see it renovated, and all the work that’s gone into it. The idea is that it’s a beautiful but useable space for locals to come and sit and enjoy it.”  

The work is part of a £560,000 project to revitalise the Accrington Pals Memorial Garden in Church Street and other green spaces around the Accrington town centre over two years, paid for with a grant from the Government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund.   

Tina Foulds, 56, from Lostock Hall, is one of the Level 2 Horticulture students taking part in the project. 

She said: “I have an allotment. I wanted to know what I could grow, how to grow it, how to take cuttings. Last Year I did the level one and I really enjoyed it, so I’ve gone on to Level 2. We’ve just recently gone on to the garden design module and it’s nice to see it go from paper then to be able to do it on a project like this. It’s really fulfilling. It’s a massive sense of achievement, and great for your mental health.”  

Besides the landscaping and structural improvements, plans are under way for a new sculpture in the seating area by the Accrington Pals Memorial. The garden has been a venture led by Hyndburn Borough Council, supported by Accrington Town Centre Greening Group, the Royal British Legion and other partners.   

Mark Pickup, Senior Parks Development Officer at Hyndburn Borough Council, said: “It has been great to work closely with the college to help provide a colourful display with specially selected plants to further enhance the improvements to this important green space in Accrington’s town centre. It has been a great opportunity to showcase the horticulture course run by the college and also the dedicated staff in Hyndburn Borough Council’s parks department.” 

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