The John Ryan Memorial Garden was officially opened by Priscilla and Isabel Ryan and Rye Mayor Cllr Bernardine Fiddimore on Friday April 24.
The land, outside Rye railway station, was given to the Community Rail Partnership by station operators Southern Railway to see if anything could be done to improve the area involving the local community.
Local Community Rail Development Officer for the Marshlink Line, Kevin Barry said: ”I contacted our station partners, Rye Studio, The Creative School and Friary Gardeners to see what could be done. But before they could do anything we needed to clear the site and Network Rail visited Rye in November last year and brought 24 volunteers to do the job. They completely transformed the area, stripping the overgrown area right back to the ground.
“The Friary Gardeners, a scheme which offers greater independence to disabled people through gardening, then provided the plants/trees and shrubs, so the Rye Studio and Creative School now have a small performance area. But we all felt it was a good opportunity to dedicate the garden to someone who was admired and well known in Rye.
“John Ryan, author and artist of Captain Pugwash lived here. So, with the blessing of Priscilla, his widow, and Isabel, his daughter, we are using the garden to remember one of Rye’s best-loved residents.”
Kevin Boorman, chair of the Marshlink line CRP, added: “This has been a great project, and we are really grateful for all the support we have had.
“This includes Network Rail for their volunteers’ help in clearing the site, our local partners for their help in landscaping it, Cllr Bernadine Fiddimore, the Mayor of Rye, for donating the saplings, and Southern Railway, East Sussex County Council and the Association of Community Rail Partnerships for helping to fund it.
“And I am especially grateful to Kevin Barry, our local community rail development officer, for all of his hard work in managing this project, creating this lovely memorial garden outside Rye station from a piece of wasteland.
“The official opening was a really lovely affair, with not only Priscilla and Isabel Ryan there, the Mayor of Rye, and the Sussex CRP board, but also some of the Friary gardeners, and local schoolchildren, and even members of the Pugwash Nursery, attached to Rye college.
“We also had students playing the Captain Pugwash theme tune, which really brought back childhood memories for some of us.
“It was a wonderful event, which really put the community into rail partnership.”
Pictures show Kevin Boorman, Kevin Barry and Priscilla Ryan with local students at the unveiling ceremony.