Participation in a social history project to educate people about the experiences of Far Eastern Prisoners of War (FEPOW) has inspired students at Pensby High School for Girls to collaborate in the creation of a garden at the RHS Show Tatton Park.
The project, funded by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, is run by Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) using a FEPOW oral history archive to develop education resources to be used by schools, community groups and the general public, via a specially designed website. This will ensure that an important aspect of World War Two history continues to be part of people's lives.
Through workshops organised by LSTM's Meg Parkes the students have talked to a number of the few surviving veterans, aged between 86 and 95, representing the last remaining survivors from over three and a half years captivity, learning about their experiences and health problems during and since captivity.
The students have worked with Paul Cook, Curator at Ness Botanical Gardens, Wirral to create the garden. Paul said "The garden is designed to showcase bamboo. Some of the plant material has been taken from the extensive collection of bamboo held at Ness, and the planting scheme highlights the variation within the genus. The main structure is a bamboo shelter reached via stepping stones. The shelter provides cover for a chair and bamboo artefacts, and two sides have a bamboo screen to protect the shelter and provide a backdrop."
The Pensby students have constructed artwork from bamboo and willow that can be seen around the garden. Run-off water from the shelter is reused in the garden. The plants, hard landscaping materials and bamboo structures will be reused after the show at Ness.
More than 2,000 FEPOW are known to have received medical treatment by staff at LSTM since 1946. Many others took part in tropical disease investigations up to the 1980s, contributing to research into a range of tropical illnesses that had affected them during their post-war lives. LSTM's Professor Geoff Gill has continued this work, culminating in this project, which is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
RHS Show at Tatton Park runs from 21-25 July 2010.
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Notes to Editors
The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK's leading gardening charity dedicated to advancing horticulture and promoting good gardening. Our goal is to help people share a passion for plants, to encourage excellence in horticulture and inspire all those with an interest in gardening.
The Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has been engaged in the fight against infectious, debilitating and disabling diseases for more than a hundred years and continues that tradition today with a research portfolio in excess of £145 million and a teaching programme attracting students from over 70 countries.
Ness Botanic Gardens
Managed by the University of Liverpool, Ness Botanic Gardens was born of Liverpool cotton merchant Arthur Kilpin Bulley passionate interest in plants and his desire to share that interest with others. Today, the commitment to maintain and develop the beauty of the Gardens remains, but there is an increasing emphasis on research, conservation and education of the public - areas reflecting Bulley's original interests.