D-Day 75 Garden
D-DAY REVISITED APPEAL
The 6th June 2019 will be the 75th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day Landings. To mark this important moment we have launched a ‘75 Reasons To Thank Our Normandy Veterans’ campaign asking members of the public and businesses to raise £250,000 for a national garden tribute.
The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ will be exhibited at the Royal Hospital Chelsea during this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show, 21st-25th May and will celebrate the lives of our Normandy veterans; 75 of whom will be invited to take part across the week and share their incredible stories with the Chelsea pensioners and the public. It will then be gifted by the veterans to the town of Arromanches, Normandy in a ceremony on 6th June 2019.
With surviving veterans now approaching 100 years of age, this will be the final opportunity for the nation to express their gratitude and ensure a lasting legacy to these valiant men and women.
11th Armoured Division veteran Bill Pendell MM was chosen by D-Day Revisited to represent the Normandy veterans in this garden tribute and he was so looking forward to attending the Chelsea Show in May. Sadly this was not to be as Bill passed away 1st December, aged 97. His loss calls into focus the diminishing time we have left with our wartime generation and strengthens our resolve to make this garden a reality in his memory.
75 REASONS TO THANK OUR D-DAY VETERANS
Budgeted to cost £250,000, this sum includes accommodation and hospitality for 75 veterans, their companions and essential medical support volunteers in London for the Chelsea Show. The ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ project has already received £150,000.
The charity hopes that the remaining amount will be met by national support through a combination of public donations, business and government contributions:
£75,000 from public donations
75 business contributions: email email@example.com
All businesses contributing a minimum of £2000 will have their logo on a ‘Supporters Board’ on the garden and the first 75 will receive an exclusive invitation to meet the veterans at Chelsea to receive a limited edition framed photograph signed by three D-Day veterans representing HM Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
Each donation, no matter how small, is hugely appreciated. Just £7.50 will pay for three of the 7500 ‘sea thrift’ plants, which are so intrinsic to the garden design.
REFLECTING BACK 75 YEARS
Designed by multi RHS gold medal winning John Everiss, the ‘D-Day 75’ Garden allows visitors to pause, reflect and learn.
Two life-size sculptures will bookmark the entrance to the 32m x 12m ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ and narrate the scene which unfolds behind them. To one side a veteran modelled on Bill Pendell MM sits on a stone plinth proudly wearing his medals and beret. Hand carved from a single block of Millstone Grit, he looks across at a fragile metal figure of himself as a 22 year old; pausing before rushing up the beachhead.
Behind young Bill four waves break on the beach through a series of Cor-Ten steel angled poles designed to represent ‘Rommel’s asparagus’ placed by the occupying forces to ensnare landing craft. Four other fragile metallic figures struggle out of the water, desperately trying to avoid hidden obstacles or shell holes.
Beyond veteran Bill, a further 15 stone plinths stretch out towards the Royal Hospital Chelsea. Each day 15 veterans will be invited to engage with the garden and sit beside Bill for a moment; looking back at the scene of young soldiers. Here they’ll be surrounded by a carpet of 7,500 Armeria maritima plants (’sea thrift’), which would have been seen by the troops as they embarked along the south coast of England and again as they pushed inland off the Normandy beaches.
In this moment the 75 years which separates one man from another is bridged and visitors are invited to consider how it must feel for veterans to reflect on the intense experiences they endured on D-Day and the days that followed.
The D-Day Landings
Codenamed ‘Operation Overlord’, the D-Day Landings on Tuesday 6th June 1944 remain the largest seaborne invasion in world history with over 6000 ships and assault craft. Nearly 160,000 men of the Allied Expeditionary Forces landed on D-Day, consisting primarily of British, American, Canadian and French troops, but also including soldiers, sailors and airmen from across the free world. A total of 875,000 disembarked onto the shores of Normandy by the end of June. The operation marked the beginning of the end of war in Europe.
Thank You for Your Support - A Note from D-Day Revisited:
Backed by the families of Field Marshal Montgomery and General Eisenhower, the ‘D-Day 75 Garden’ has received support from leading advertising executive and Normandy veteran supporter, Trevor Beattie, as well as high profile celebrities including Stephen Fry, Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and the D-Day Darlings.
The ‘D-Day 75’ Garden will provide a fitting tribute to Bill Pendell and his pals. Bill was a generous and modest man, with a twinkle in his eye and an enormous zest for life which was truly infectious. We are proud to have known him and in turn, with the help of his daughter Fay Pendell and his best friend Joe Cattini, we hope to do him proud in May.