St John’s Riverside Garden Opening Ceremony

History was made on Saturday 27th October as a large crowd gathered in arctic like conditions to celebrate the Blessing of Our Lady of Bath, Queen of Peace Statue. This Project inspired by the Young Adult Group of the Parish and was the culmination of two years work shared by a large team of willing volunteers from the Parish. The inspiration for the Garden was to create a place of light in what was a neglected and dark area of the Church Grounds.

It was a great community effort, showing just how much can be accomplished by willing hands working together. A large and inspiring statue of Mary was unveiled and blessed by Canon David. The statue was created on site by international sculptor Ben Dearnley, who worked tirelessly for two hot months during the summer.

Following the recitation of the Rosary a short Liturgy took place including hymns led by our Contemporary Music Group. We were honoured to have the Mayor of Bath attend with his wife as well as a host of visitors with local and retired clergy. All appreciated the reception afterwards provided by the Garden Project Team led by Tom Rynkowski with special thanks to Liz Ganapathy and Zosia Mills for hosting the event.

The Garden has many beautiful features, a variety of flowers in the Marian tradition, stone paving provided by parishioners of the United Reform Church, St Albans, as well as reclaimed traditional fencing, renovated and hand painted by the women of the Parish.

The gate will be open from 8.00am to 5 pm in the winter with special times for the Spring and summer to be announced. The Garden Project Team are very grateful for the generous donations, large and small that have been given to cover most of the costs to date. If you would like to make a donation use the envelopes at the back of the Church marked ‘Garden Project’.

Congratulations to all who have play a part in this new feature and thank you on behalf of Our Lady, Queen of Peace!


The booklet for the opening can be read here.

A letter from the sculptor Ben Dearnley can be read here.

The poem These Leaves are Fallen written by Monoleeto Sangar and read on the day can be read here.