Spalding community garden to become a memorial to Warren Free

WARREN'S PATCH:  Mick Clarkson plans to turn this section of a community garden in Royce Road, Spalding, into a memorial for Warren Free.  Photo by Tim Wilson.
WARREN'S PATCH: Mick Clarkson plans to turn this section of a community garden in Royce Road, Spalding, into a memorial for Warren Free. Photo by Tim Wilson.
  • Pop’s Patch creator to have plaque made up for late dad-of-two

The creator of a community garden in Spalding is behind a plan to keep dad-of-two Warren Free’s memory alive in the town.

Mick Clarkson (54) has offered to rename half of Pop’s Patch to honour Mr Free who died tragically after suffering a serious head injury last August.

Because I feel so much for Warren’s family, I want something that’s readable and respectful to them

Mick Clarkson, creator of Pop’s Patch, Spalding

A plaque bearing Mr Free’s name will be produced to be mounted on a wall at the community garden near Mick’s home in Royce Road which he transformed from being a dumping ground for flytippers last year.

Mick said: “Because I feel so much for Warren’s family, I thought of getting a plaque with his date of birth on made up to put it on the wall, perhaps with a few flowers as a memorial so that he isn’t forgotten.

“I want something that’s readable and respectful of Warren and his family, whilst keeping the one garden as Pop’s Patch because it would be a shame to lose it.”

Mick originally came up with the idea for a community garden after watching people drive up and dump rubbish, including car parts, a washbasin and a settee.

The garden became known as Pop’s Patch, attracting interest from people living in and around the area, as well as on social media.

Mr Free’s parents, George and Stephanie Free, said: “The support we’ve had from everybody around Spalding has been absolutely fantastic and they realise how much of a terrible tragedy it is that Warren is no longer here.

“It’s great that Mick has now dedicated a part of Pop’s Patch to Warren and that he’s in the process of having a plaque made up with our son’s name on it.

“Even though he’s not here, we’ve still got our own memories of Warren because that’s all we’ve got and that’s what we’ll live with.”

Meanwhile, a fundraising effort by traders in Spalding who joined together for Mr Free’s family raised more than £500, it has been revealed.

The owners of Late Shopper and Jack’s Fish Bar, both of Holbeach Road, and Acacia Stores of Acacia Avenue, decided on a collection shortly after Mr Free’s death was confirmed on August 29, 2014.

Customers and the wider public all took part in the collection for Mr Free’s teenage son Adam and daughter Zoe, who lives in North Wales.

At the time when the collection was launched, Late Shopper co-owner Ranjit Khela, said: “Quite a few customers have been asking about the collection and people have been giving generously.”

Mr Khela added that what had happened to the family was ‘sad’ and customers were ‘shocked’ to learn of his death.

“But this has shown how the community can come together and help the family of Mr Free and, as a local shop, we’re happy to help in any way we can,” he said.

A statement from the family at the time of Mr Free’s death said: “We have been very touched by the gestures of flowers, cards and, in particular, we’d like to thank Late Shopper, Jack’s Fish Bar and Acacia Stores, together with all the people who added to the donation for the family.”