Photo: Ollie Dixon
Following Chelsea, the garden will be relocated to a permanent site at London Biggin Hill Airport; honouring the former RAF base’s role as ‘The Strongest Link’ in the Battle of Britain
After months of preparation, the RAF Benevolent Fund Garden was unveiled at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week.
The garden and statue, designed by award winning designer John Everiss, features a sculpture of a young pilot looking up at the sky. Standing at four metres tall and constructed from 223 layers of laser cut stainless steel, the contemporary sculpture is a powerful and moving tribute to all those who have served and continue to serve in the Royal Air Force.
Following the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, the garden will be relocated to a permanent site at London Biggin Hill Airport, where it will be renamed ‘The Strongest Link Garden’ – alluding to Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s description of RAF Biggin Hill as his ‘strongest link’ during the Battle of Britain. The official unveiling will take place on 15th September, Battle of Britain Day.
Funding for the garden was provided by Project Giving Back, a new support scheme enabling charities to create a garden at the world-renowned show.
David Winstanley, Chief Executive Officer at London Biggin Hill Airport, said “Whilst London Biggin Hill Airport has a clear vision to become London’s pre-eminent full-service Business Aviation Airport and a leading centre for Aviation Technology and Enterprise, we remain conscious of the role this famous airfield has played in our country’s past.
‘The Strongest Link Garden’ will help ensure that we continue to tell the story of the Battle of Britain to future generations. John’s impressive sculpture and commemorative garden will stand abeam the main approach to runway 21, providing an iconic gateway to the modern airport and a destination attraction for its many visitors.”
Award winning Garden Designer John Everiss said “I am thrilled and honoured that ‘The Strongest Link Garden’ will be permanently sited at London Biggin Hill, the RAF’s most important base during the Second World War. The garden is a lasting tribute to all those who sacrificed so much – the pilots, ground crew and civilian personnel – particularly in the Battle of Britain during the summer of 1940.”
The garden has been designed to allow visitors to sit and reflect on the service and sacrifice of those that served at RAF Biggin Hill in the hope that it will inspire visitors to look into their own history and speak to family and friends about their connections to the RAF.