Preston gardener Brian creates his last Remembrance display

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A long serving council gardener has created his final Remembrance display after 15 years supporting Preston Remembrance services.

Brian McNeil, who started working in the council’s parks’ team in the mid-nineties, has created the annual ‘Garden of Remembrance’ display in the city centre’s St George’s Shopping Centre each year and as he is retiring in summer 2023, it will be his last.

Brian said: “Although I have worked for the parks’ team since the nineties, I transferred to the greenhouse in 2007 where I took on the Remembrance display that had been established many years ago.

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“It’s sad that this will be my last display, but I am passing the duty on to my colleague Marcus who I am sure will do a great job.”

Brian McNeil is retiring next yearBrian McNeil is retiring next year
Brian McNeil is retiring next year

The display is particularly poignant as Brian is himself a veteran, having served in the Army for 10 years.

Brian added: “During my time in the Royal Corps of Signals, I completed two tours of Northern Ireland and also served in the Falklands in 1982. I also served in the Territorial Army for five years.

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“I have been very proud to have been able to put this display together for so long, particularly as a veteran. We should always remember all those who we have lost due to conflict.”

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On Saturday, 5 November at 11am, The Right Worshipful Mayor of Preston, Councillor Neil Darby, will officially open the Garden of Remembrance where he will place the first cross, followed by representatives of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force, then the representatives of the various ex-service organisations and the general public..

Jason Hindley from St George’s Shopping Centre said: “St George’s are really proud to host this display each year. Remembering all those who have been lost due to conflict is important for us all.”

The Garden of Remembrance can be found within the ground floor rotunda of St George’s Shopping Centre, 28 Friargate, from Saturday 5 November at 11am.

The Mayor of Preston, Councillor Neil Darby, Reverend Kevin Savage accompanied by representatives of the Armed Forces and ex-Service organisations preceded by the Standards of the Central Lancashire Armed Forces Veterans Association will gather at just before 11am at the Garden of Remembrance in St George’s Shopping Centre.