John Everiss, from Chorley, has designed the garden set for the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea at the 2019 Chelsea Flower Show to mark the anniversary of the June 6 D-Day Landings, which in 1944 was and still is the largest seaborne invasion in world history.
As part of the garden, veteran Bill Pendell has been used as a model for a statue.
Bill landed on Gold beach during D-Day as a 22-year-old Despatch Rider in the Royal Signals, 11th Armoured Division.
He was awarded the Military Medal in June 1945 for bravery in combat and in 2016 received the Légion d’Honneur, the highest French order of merit.
Bill, from Oxfordshire, sadly died last month, but with his family’s blessing plans are still going ahead to use Bill as the model, with North West artist Thomas Dagnall set to create the stone sculpture.
John Everiss said:“The D-Day 75 Garden celebrates the veterans, many of whom are already looking forward to attending the RHS Chelsea Flower Show where they’ll have the opportunity to exchange stories with the Chelsea Pensioners and talk with visitors.
“We hope the veterans’ wish to gift this 75th anniversary garden to the British Normandy Memorial at Ver-sur-Mer can be fulfilled. There it may continue to inspire future generations; giving visitors a sense of the enormous challenge faced by the Allied troops.”
John’s own family has strong ties with war, with his moving 2015 Chelsea Flower Show garden ‘The Evader’ dedicated to his late father Stan Everiss, an RAF navigator during the Second World War who survived being shot down over France.
John was also the brains behind the Garden of Reflection at Astley Park’s Walled Garden, created last year to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.
And the D-Day 75 Garden has now had the backing of the Normandy veterans’ charity, D-Day Revisited, with a crowdfunding page set up to raise £75,000.
The total currently stands at £6,836 made up of 56 donations in the last two months.
Victoria Phipps from D-Day Revisited said: “We will miss Bill very much, he was a wonderful character. His loss has strengthened our resolve to create this legacy at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and we’re thrilled that his daughter Fay and so many of his veteran pals are keen to come along in May in his stead.
“The anniversary will be the final opportunity for the public to come together and commemorate D-Day alongside a significant number of men and women who experienced it first hand.”
To get involved or donate to the commemorative garden visit www.gofundme.com/dday-75-garden or search #DDay75Garden on Twitter