During a 45 minute visit our patron was given a tour of the chapel interiors and the Sword of Sacrifice areas. Inside the chapels he was introduced to the executive committee and grounds workers. He was particularly taken with the Minton tiles which looked great thanks to the cleaning they had been given by Jayne. He was shown an image of the chapel interiors before work started and said, “You really have achieved a great deal here”. However, he was saddened that the niche marble columns had been stolen. Rob told him about the decorative stone and the porte-cochere projects before he signed the visitors book and then went out to the Sword of Sacrifice area.
Looking up at the chapels he was taken with the dove symbol on the front of the spire, saying, “That’s the dove of peace descending through the sun’s rays.” Brian explained to him about the river of poppy’s plan which impressed him as it would lead down from the dove of peace.
I had the chance to give him a full update on all our short and long term aims. Also, the strategic situation short and long term with our partnership work with the council and Historic England. That said he knew more than I did about the Magenta situation and the front lodge sale! Asking what we would do with the chapels if they were roofed I said we intended to become the Wirral’s centre for local, social and family history and a place were the value of trees can be demonstrated. He was particularly interested in the tree aspect and was impressed that we had 140 different species. He is involved in the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy Project, which seeks to plant a tree in every constituency in the commonwealth and said he would like one of the trees to be planted in Flaybrick, (more detail on this can be seen on ITV on Monday at 9pm in Green Planet) and I said we would welcome that.
Frank has now been our patron for 15 years and it has been 10 years since his last visit. I asked him what difference he could see. He said, “the improvements are very clear, the friends have made things are much better”. His support staff said that they would be happy to push things along for us if we have any problems getting things done. As he departed I thanked him said his visit had been a great boost for us.
So all things considered, (weather included), it was a great day for us and we have all done well in helping to make the visit the success that it was.
By John Moffat