Bench marks family’s connection to village

Members of the family of John and Margaret Perry flew over from Canada to officially open a bench in their memory in Waterside Gardens.'Grandaughter Heather Theriault, great grandson Aidan Perry and son Michael Perry.
Members of the family of John and Margaret Perry flew over from Canada to officially open a bench in their memory in Waterside Gardens.'Grandaughter Heather Theriault, great grandson Aidan Perry and son Michael Perry.
From left, Jacob Kennard, Gavin Moon, Ian Doyle and Sarah Talboys-Smith with Shanon Rees and Rodney Watson at the front
 at the Southsea Village in Palmerston Road Picture: Habibur Rahman

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MICHAEL Perry travelled thousands of miles across the Atlantic with his family to officially unveil a bench in memory of his parents in Wallington.

Members of the family of the late John and Margaret Perry flew from Canada to Fareham to attend the dedication of a bench in Waterside Gardens where they used to live.

John and Margaret played a key role in the founding of the Wallington Village Community Association and ensuring the conservation of old Wallington.

Their son Michael Perry, 71, grandaughter Heather Theriault, 43, and great-grandson Aidan Perry, nine, were all there to witness the unveiling of the bench.

The tree seat, funded jointly by the family and Wallington Village, is under the Canadian maple planted by John 45 years ago, soon after he and Margaret moved into what was then a new development.

The bench was formally unveiled by Aidan in memory of his great-grandparents.

Michael donated a sum of money to the association and asked them to spend it how they wished and they chose to build the bench.

He said: ‘It’s really quite overwhelming.

‘It’s entirely appropriate because in many ways this tree symbolises the community.

‘They recognised that this little corner of Fareham is very special.

‘They wanted to preserve it firstly but more than that they wanted to enhance the quality of life of the people living here and I think that is what is being achieved by the Wallington Village Community Association.’

Michael has visited Fareham many times with his grandchildren.

He added: ‘All I did was give the association a gift and I said “spend it in whatever way you feel is appropriate”. They decided that this bench would be appropriate.’

Current chairman of the association, James Clark said: ‘John was one of the founding members.

‘It’s very fitting that it’s here. He was a fine man.

‘He did a lot of work for the village community.’

The family were joined at the ceremony by close friends, previous and current association office holders and the current residents of Waterside Gardens.