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Aberdeen rose planting honours tireless work of armed forces charity

19/03/14

A rose planting ceremony took place in an Aberdeen park today [Wednesday 19 March] to honour the work of a charity supporting ex-service personnel.

Mike Chalmers ( Aberdeen City Council Landscape supervisor) helps plant the roses with BLESMA formemr members,Margaret Wilson ,Grace Ferguson & Roddy Ferguson (Former Chairman Aberdeen Branch BLESMA) The Blessings Roses were planted in Rubislaw and Queens Terrace Gardens by members of Aberdeen City Council's environmental service team and representatives of the British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association (BLESMA).

The charity was founded after WWI by groups of war-injured ex-service personnel to campaign for employment, rehabilitation and specially-adapted transport.

Since WWII, BLESMA has been involved with research into suitable prosthetics and lobbying successive governments to ensure better pension provision for war-injured personnel, male or female, and creating pensions for war widows and widowers. The Aberdeen branch of BLESMA was one of the first to open in the UK.

Branch secretary Margaret Wilson said: "BLESMA runs a very healthy rehabilitation programme which includes outdoor sports like climbing, cycling, running and sailing.

"This gives back confidence to amputees who feel their life can take on a new meaning and that they can still participate in activities they never thought possible.

"We also firmly believe in the power of nature in the healing process and parks in particular can offer a haven for people seeking a timeout during recuperation.

"The rose planting in Rubislaw and Queens Terrace Gardens will honour the work of BLESMA and create a peaceful place away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

"I would like to thank Aberdeen City Council for their support in this project and I look forward to seeing the roses and the rest of the gardens flourishing."

Aberdeen City Council Housing and Environment Convener Councillor Neil Cooney added: "BLESMA provides a lifeline to many ex-service personnel and they must be commended for their constant and unwavering support to men and women who have suffered life-changing injuries in the line of duty.

"The rose planting in Rubislaw and Queens Terrace Gardens is only a small gesture but anything that will keep the tireless efforts of this wonderful and worthy charity in the public eye is to be strongly welcomed.

"These roses and the rest of the gardens will look stunning when in full bloom and I would encourage as many people as possible to take advantage of not only this place but all of the city's open public spaces.

"It is in our parks and gardens where people can escape and seek solace and where they can spend a few hours in reflection or quiet contemplation."

Aberdeen City Council landscape supervisor Mike Chalmers said the BLESMA rose planting was part of a wider regeneration project in the gardens.

He added: "The gardens are having work done to improve the overall appearance, with shrub planting along the back border, thinning of trees to open up the grass areas, which will also be renovated, and pond repairs.

"Once this is complete, the gardens will provide a peaceful place to relax, only minutes from the city centre."