Chris Beardshaw designed and created a garden for Archbishop Desmond Tutu to celebrate his contribution to Lewisham, where he lived in the 1970’s, and to his role promoting peace and understanding.
He created the garden in 2009 with the kind donation of time and labour by Glendale Services, by reusing all the plants and materials from the Bradstone Dawn Chorus Garden exhibited by the Chris Beardshaw Mentoring Scholarship team in 2009 and by some funding by the Big Lottery Fund. it was a challenging project to deliver made all the more exciting when they heard Desmond Tutu would come and open the garden personally on his last visit to the UK before retiring from public life. His only date was mid July and work didn’t even commence until June! But with the deadline ahead of them and by many supportive companies and local residents the garden opened on a beautiful summer’s day by Desmond Tutu and many local dignitaries including Terry Waite. The project was kick started and run by Suzannah Clarke who lives in Desmond Tutu’s former home and who wanted to find a way to honour his work in the borough.
Chris was keen to create a garden in a space everyone can enjoy so Chinbrook Meadows seemed the perfect place. The garden features wildflower areas representing a stylised pair of hands which are holding something precious. The Peace Garden itself sits within the hands and originates from the idea that peace exists in the lea of one person making a stand.
Chris says ‘it was a huge challenge as I wanted to create something which is aesthetically rewarding, of educational value, and will promote social interaction and harmony in the community. We aimed to create a model garden that could be developed further over years to come. Peace is the catalyst, not the end result.