VOLUNTEERS have completed a makeover of the memorial area in Ilkley Riverside Gardens.

There are now flowerbeds in the area, the overlooking platform and the Bridge Street entrance. They contain a wide variety of shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses.

“It’s been really hard work but we got there in the end,” said Ed Duguid, chairman of the Friends of Ilkley Riverside Parks (FOIRP). “It was a real team effort and an example of different groups and organisations working together for the benefit of the community as a whole.”

FOIRP has been supported by a group of local landscape gardeners led by Helen Taylor, who have all donated their time and expertise for free. They are: Ian Campbell, Patrick Campbell, Linda Taylor, Rachel Forbes, Joanne Hartley, Anne Eldred, Isabel Almond and James Cooper.

After several meetings the group were able to scope out the area and provide an exciting planting scheme.

The FOIRP volunteers cleared the turf and excavated the new beds before adding 14 tons of topsoil to the new beds.

“And when I say ‘excavated’ I really mean it,” said Ed, “Some of the stones under the turf were enormous. However, we were able to hire some equipment from SHC Hire in Ilkley who charged us a special charitable rate. It was also the help of local builder, Joe Bonner that really made a big difference. He lent us a digger and small dumper truck. This made the back breaking work a bit easier. Local topsoil firm, Greenlands, gave us a discount and finally Ilkley based mulch specialist, Strulch.com, gave as massive reduction in the price as we were a local charitable group.

“We had to purchase many of the plants ourselves. However, again a local beneficiary donated many of the plants and this made the variety more extensive and the overall cost manageable.

“Finally the |landscape group spent all day planting out the plants, before the FOIRP volunteers returned again to complete the job by putting on the mulch, and of course watering most days in this hot weather, dragging the water from the river.”

The work has been made possible by local Co-op members, who nominated FOIRP and helped raise over £4,000. “So this is a project which has very much been conceived, planned, designed, funded and supported by local people and local firms. What a fantastic legacy from this year of pain for many,” added Ed.