When I was little Ayscoughfee Gardens in Spalding was my favourite place in the world.
It gave me some of the fondest memories of my early childhood, running around the grounds and playing hide-and-seek with my younger brothers and grandma, playing in the pool, feeding the ducks, watching the birds and getting an ice cream afterwards.
It was a truly beautiful place, the jewel of Spalding with all it’s flowers, well-maintained trees, hedges and sparkling pond.
There was a real sense that it was treasured by the community and it filled you with warmth just being there.
Nowadays, however, all the love and care seems to be gone from that place.
The Ayscoughfee where I have spent so many happy, bright Saturday afternoons at no longer exists.
It does, in a literal sense, but the magic has gone. It’s not that I’ve grown out of it, I don’t believe any age of person could have gone there when I was a boy and not appreciated its glory.
It’s been disfigured and no longer resembles the beautiful, adventurous maze it once was.
The big trees, whose branches and leaves would form sweeping walls of green, have been cut back to the point where there are gaping holes where once stood works of art.
Some trees have had 50 per cent of their branches removed, leaving nothing but naked, brown trunks carelessly stripped of all their vibrancy and colour, defacing them in my eyes.
The fountain no longer works and the bowling green seems to be all that is cherished now.
Today I saw a JCB bulldozer in Ayscoughfee, the last thing that should be in there and a perfect example of what I’m talking about.
It was digging up a small row of hedge or shrub in an act of total overkill.
Doing this by hand would show a degree of care that seems lost on the gardens today. This heavy-duty machinery has no right being there.
The memorial benches are in need of re-painting and some have been defaced by graffiti. Benches dedicated to people who loved Spalding and its glorious gardens.
Ayscoughfee is a memorial to many, reminding us of people who fought and died for everything the gardens represent.
On some read the words: “For your tomorrow we gave our today.” I believe that these words need to be re-read by someone and that they need to “give their today for Ayscoughfee’s tomorrow”.