The Friends of Rochester Churchfields and Esplanade (FoRCE) welcomed some very special volunteers at their August Task Day when Jennifer Godfrey, author of “Suffragettes of Kent“, and members of the Soroptimist International of Medway and Maidstone group came along to help out with the gardening work transforming the existing raised bed space on Rochester Esplanade into an accessible sensory area for visitors of all ages and abilities.
There are very strong links between today’s work of Soroptimist International and the law-abiding Suffragists of the early 20th century who believed in peaceful, constitutional campaign methods.
Vera Conway Gordon, for whom this Sensory Garden will be dedicated, campaigned peacefully for women’s rights as President of the Rochester Branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). In later life, she was one of the founding members of the Whitstable Branch of the United Nations Association. Soroptimist International, founded in 1921, inspire action and create opportunities to transform the lives of women and girls through a global network of members and international partnerships. The Medway and Maidstone SI Group are celebrating their 75th anniversary this year.
There was a great sense of camaraderie and achievement at the Task Day as volunteers worked tirelessly to get the smallest bed ready for planting next month and continued making inroads into the second bed opposite the Castle and Vera Conway Gordon’s family home. Another group of volunteers filled around 12 bags of litter from the general area.
The FoRCE will begin planting out the smallest bed with plants, herbs, and bulbs at their next Task Day on Saturday 11th September. Volunteers and donations of sensory plants are most welcome.
To get involved, please visit esplanadefriends.org.uk.
(Photo shows: Jennifer Godfrey, author, and members of the Medway and Maidstone Soroptimist International Angela Howe, Nellie Adjaye and Julia Seaward | credit Friends of Rochester Churchfields & Esplanade)