A MEMORIAL garden for servicemen and women who have worked at sea is nearing completion at Runcorn Cemetery.

The seafarers’ site, which will honour everyone who served on the water, is expected to be finished by the end of April and has seen Halton Borough Council work in partnership with local historian Tony Miller and Dunkil Developments.

Sailors from around the world passed through Runcorn’s port, some of whom lost their lives in the town at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

When sailors died, through accident or illness, and there was no family to organise a burial, it was down to the local authority and the identity of many sailors was unknown.

An area of the 160-year old cemetery was set aside for such burials in unmarked graves and a memorial was erected several years ago to commemorate the lives of those who died in Runcorn.

At the beginning of 2019, Tony Miller approached the Council about honouring those sailors who had lost their lives in the first and second world wars.

A granite memorial plaque, donated by the Tom Wilkinson VC Statue Appeal, will be a sandstone plinth at the gard

Runcorn and Widnes World: en entrance and the memorial stone cross will be relocated to the new garden.

A spokesman for Halton Borough Council said: “The memorial cross will be set on a stone dais with a flagpole in a formal gathering area where ceremonies of remembrance will be performed.

“The garden will be planted with tree species from far flung parts of the globe representing many of the exotic locations linked economically and culturally to Runcorn by the Merchant Navy.”

Tony, who was a Merchant seaman during World War One and sailed for Blue Funnel out of Birkenhead, said: “The seafarers and mariners were never recognised for all their dangerous work.

“No cenotaph or war memorial honours these great men and we thought it would be fitting to recognise them officially.”

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