The Val Smith Memorial garden officially opened in Blackbird Leys

By John Charlton

Andrew Smith MP officially opened the Val Smith Memorial Garden on Saturday. The garden is dedicated to his wife Val Smith, a local councillor who died in 2015 after a battle with cancer. The garden also commemorates two former councillors, Barbara Gatehouse and Carole Roberts, who served the local community over many years.

Local residents, councillors from across Oxford and community representatives attended the event to pay tribute and celebrate the opening.

Speaking at the opening Andrew Smith said: “it is a fitting tribute to Val and also Carole and Barbara who were remarkable women and who cared deeply for their community.”

The garden is located next to the Leys Pool and Leisure Centre and provides a quiet and peaceful location for residents to enjoy.

The garden was funded by the Blackbird Leys Parish Council working closely with the Oxford City Council. Blackbird Leys Parish Council chairman Gordon Roper said “Val was a wonderful person who dedicated herself to the local community and it is nice way to remember her good works. We also want to remember Carole and Barbara and it is lovely that we can do it in this way”

The memorial garden features three benches with the names of Val, Carole and Barbara hand carved into the wood, and a landscaped area of paths and plants surrounding the site.