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Neve’s Garden

“In Neve’s Garden, you can belong, love, accept and grow.”

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As I sit here with my new-born son Finley in my arms, I am overwhelmed with emotion, as is any new parent, my sense of love and the thought of caring for him for the rest of his life makes my heart fill with joy and pride That brings me to the real reason for this article: Neve Parlett, her parents Paul & Mary and brother, Lewis.

Neve was a beautiful young lady, bringing light to everyone’s life. Sadly, she suffered a brain aneurism one day at school, I don’t think I am qualified to say any more on the situation – it simply hurts as a human being, a dad, a partner, and a son. The sheer thought of this is just too harrowing.

I was sat at home on 20 March when Neves’s dad, Paul rang me. He was reaching out to ask for help in creating a memorial garden in Neves’s honour – without hesitation, I agreed to design the garden along with helping build it. There are times in life when we all get stopped in our tracks for one reason or another and speaking to Paul and Mary has certainly been one of them. The consensus in speaking to people about their tragedy is, ‘whatever we can do to help ease their pain, we will.’ I think this speaks volumes about them as a family.

Upon speaking to Paul and telling him we will all do what we can to help, I started putting the feelers out as well as designing the garden. We also met with the headmistress of Didcot Girl’s School to look at our plot – which is looking to be a good size – where we can build something incredibly special indeed.

As far as I’m concerned, this is one of the most important gardens we will ever build. With the wishes of the Parlett family, this garden will not only represent Neve but also help all those affected by Neve’s passing and aid them in healing. Grief is a hard emotion to deal with, but I truly feel that an incredible garden can help you come to terms with whatever you are facing in life.

Since Paul messaged me, I have had a circle in my mind. I kept thinking about the circle of life, I could see a tree in the middle of the circle that people could sit and ponder under if they needed quiet time to escape bullies or reminisce memories of Neve.

For the rear of this circle, I have suggested an Amphitheatre finished off in grass with two or three layers to allow for school photos or maybe a drama class performance. I feel this garden needs to help those students who need help through life – from speaking to Mary (Neve’s mum) she tells me this is a quality Neve had in abundance.

She would be the type of girl that ran towards a situation. If someone were being bullied, Neve would step in and help. If someone needed consoling, she would be the one to console. If we can carry on her amazing nature of helping those in need, then we have to create a Memorial Garden in that vein.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.”

We are planting the trees, but it is not us who are wise. We have been brought together by Neve, a young woman who lost her life, and whose behaviour in life has inspired us to plant trees for all those who may need inspiration. To find love under a cherry blossom, to find acceptance where they may not be accepted – In Neve’s Garden, you can belong, love, accept and grow.

Prunus “Kanzan” (cherry tree)

Paul plays rugby for my rival team, Didcot – a tenacious team who like to play rough. I remember Paul on the pitch; tough, hard-running and, from personal experience, a seriously hard tackler! Amongst all this, I have learned recently that he is a big family man, a softie, and I can see this experience has hurt him deeply. It’s clear to see Paul and Mary are a great family unit, the biggest thing for me though was Lewis. The politest young man, he has a paper round and always helps his dad on their smallholding. For me, this comes down to parenting and demonstrates why Neve was the way she was.

We want to reach out to anyone who has been touched by this article and to help us bring Neve’s Garden to life. Me, My Spade & I will do all we can to build the project, and so far, we have also enlisted the following help: Stuart Howard has offered to fit all metal edging for free, Steve Moul of Valley Plants has found a Prunus “Kanzan” (cherry tree) that will grow well and provide shade and A. L. Lacy & Sons are to provide machinery for us to build the project.

Thank you to those generous people, however, we still need more. We need help with aggregates, plants and lastly turf. If you know anyone who can help, please get in touch at with the heading ‘Neve’s Garden’. We will all be forever grateful!

We very much look forward to showing you Neve’s Garden.


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