THE mother of a brave schoolgirl who died from cancer last year gave an emotional thanks at the official opening of a garden in her memory.
Annette Hughes was visibly moved to see the ‘Garden of Reflection’ designed and built by staff and pupils at City of Portsmouth Girls’ School where her daughter Jodie Deeming spent happy years before her untimely death at the age of 14.
The 42-year-old, of Bath Road, Southsea, who was accompanied by her sons Anthony, 16, and Kieran, 14, said: ‘It’s so beautiful.
‘I want to thank everyone for keeping Jodie’s memory alive.
‘I think of my daughter every single day. The passing of time has not made it easier. But I know she’s looking down on us now and smiling.’
At the garden’s centre is a mosaic of two dolphins – Jodie’s favourite animals – and the pink, blue and purple flowers framing a bench and trellises reflect Jodie’s favourite colours.
Although it is dedicated to Jodie, the garden will now provide a quiet place for pupils to reflect on friends or family they have loved and lost.
Student Jodie Payne, 15, who affectionately called Jodie her ‘prettier twin’, said: ‘We wanted to do something so Jodie would never be forgotten.
‘My favourite part was writing a personal message to Jodie under the stepping stones – I feel so proud of what we have achieved.
‘Jodie was playful and cheeky, and she stayed strong for all of us. I miss her so much.’
Gemma Ricketts, 15, added: ‘There are so many times I’ve wanted to speak with Jodie but couldn’t. Now I have somewhere I can go to do that.’
Beth Sanderson, Jodie’s teaching assistant, who designed the garden, thanked local businesses Johnson Tiles, W Stirland builders, Travis Perkins, CTD Tiles, JF Goodwillie, Garden Angel, Martyn Hovey and Co, Co-operative Funeralcare and Woodpecker Designs for their donations of time and materials which helped to create the garden.