The legacy of Rory Minns will live on in Tangmere thanks to a stunning bench in his memory.
Rory died at the Woodhorn level crossing on December 31, 2014. On Sunday, which would have been Rory’s 26th birthday, more than 100 people made their way to Tangmere’s community garden open day, where the creation of chainsaw sculptor Simon Groves was unveiled.
Rory’s sister Tacey Minns said: “We just gave Simon our ideas and he created the masterpiece in four days. It was more of a happy day to celebrate Rory’s birthday, it was nice to be able to talk about him with happy memories. The bench is incredibly unique, just like Rory was – you will never find another man quite like him.
“Just after we revealed the bench a lovely little butterfly came and landed next to it. It was nice to think this was Rory.”
The family said Rory’s death led to an ‘outpouring of grief’ from the whole community, leading shops to take donations for the bench at the gardens – a place where Rory felt at home.
Rory’s family added: “On Sunday, September 27 residents from Tangmere and the surrounding areas along with a host of people from all along the south coast, headed down to Tangmere Community Garden’s open day for a chance to talk to the members about the possibility that the scheme has to offer for the bargain basement price of £15 a year and to raise funds to plough back into the garden.
“Not only did the large numbers get to enjoy a lovely days’ weather and pick up all kinds of inspiration to take back to their own gardens or neglected spaces, they were also there for the unveiling of the memorial bench for Rory, whose death on New Year’s Eve and the subsequent outpouring of grief shown by the whole community led to the shops taking donations for a memorial bench that was to be placed at the community garden, a place where Rory felt very much at home.
“By coincidental timing, the local chainsaw sculptor Simon Groves who had been commissioned to carve the tribute using 150-year-old oak from Petworth, said the earliest he would be able to have the bench ready would be at the end of September which coincided with what would have been Rory’s 26th birthday, on September 27.”
More than 100 people went along to see Rory’s bench which has intricately carved designs on it, including a star in the Andromeda galaxy which is named after Rory.
The bench also features Rory’s ‘tag’, ‘Rawz’, a bee orchid and morning glory, flower pots, and a garden fork.
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