New memorial garden pays tribute to trailblazer from Raunds

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A ceremony was held in Raunds to unveil a garden in memory of a woman from the town who blazed a trail int he early 20th century when she became the first female mayor of a London borough.

Cllr Richard Levell, mayor of Raunds, welcomed mayor of Southwark, Cllr Catherine Rose, and other invited guests to the official opening of the ‘Ada Salter Spinney and Garden’ on August 11

Raunds Town Council created the memorial garden to celebrate the life and achievements of Ada Salter.

Born in Raunds in 1866, Ada became Mayor of Bermondsey - now part of the Borough of Southwark - in 1922.

She was known for her belief that the beautification of open spaces improves the quality of life.

Cllr Levell, said: “With her campaign to ‘beautify’ urban areas Ada Salter was a remarkable lady, whose ideas are still relevant today.

“We in Raunds should be very proud of her, and it is entirely fitting that we have commemorated her in this way.

“I hope that, while they enjoy sitting in or walking through the garden, the residents of Raunds remember that, without Ada, our towns and cities would probably be a lot less green and look a lot more bleak.”

The project to create the garden was led by the council’s Environment, Leisure and Recreation Committee.

A spokesman for the town council said: “In 2016, the then Mayor of Raunds was invited to Bermondsey to take part in a tribute to Ada on the 150th anniversary of her birth.

“Cllr Helen Howell reported back to what a splendid occasion she had been to and proposed that it would be appropriate for Raunds Town Council to create a memorial to Ada Salter in Raunds.

“The council agreed, and the site at what was Spinney Hill was chosen because it is at the heart of the town and needed beautification. The garden is the result.”

Cllr Lee Wilkes, chairman of the Environment Leisure and Recreation Committee, added: “In creating this tribute in Raunds, the Town Council were inspired not only by Ada, but by the passion and enthusiasm of the people we met in Bermondsey in 2016.”

Other guests at the event included members of the Quaker movement, as Ada was a prominent Quaker, members of the Raunds History Society, and Raunds Town Councillors.

Also on hand was Graham Taylor, author of a 2016 biography of Ada, a filmcrew who are making a documentary about the life of Ada Salter and members of the public from the town.”