Memorial garden created to honour Middleton man

editorial image

Mr ‘Middleton’ has been remembered at the community building he led the way in creating.

A memorial garden in front of the Jubilee Hall pays tribute to Ted Chandler and his wife, Peggie.

The garden also remembers other residents who have contributed to the area and the hall.

The raised open space – measuring 3.5m by 8m and bordered by railway sleepers – was officially opened last Friday by Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb.

He hammered in the last nail on the memorial plaque as well as cutting a ribbon over one of its benches in front of about 30 onlookers.

He said: “This shows that in Middleton you do value community life and this garden is a way of remembering those who have supported it.

“It is a wonderful idea which enhances the area. It lovely to have a permanent tribute to people who have contributed to village life in Middleton so well.

“We all know what Ted Chandler did for the village for all those years as well as for the town through the Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital and raising money for the Friends.

“We forget how much we owe to people who do things for nothing week in week out.

“It’s not just the hours. It’s the responsibility they take on with the things they do – what event will we do next, will anyone turn up, will we sell enough tickets?”

The three benches around the garden were funded by Mr and Mrs Chandler’s two sons, Nigel and Paul, in loving memory of their mother and father.

Nigel Chandler said: “My parents would have really thrilled to see the garden. They would much rather have something practical like the benches, especially to do with the village hall, than some headstones.

“The garden is a lovely thing to have done there to remember them in this way as well as all the other members of the community. It has made that area a really good spot.”

Former postmaster Mr Chandler died in January 2010 aged 88. He was awarded an MBE in 2002 for his services to Middleton.

“They began in 1969 when he was elected to the parish council of which he was the chairman for 25 years.

He spent 13 years fundraising for the Jubilee Hall and was the original chairman of its management committee.

He also spent 25 years as an Arun district councillor. His other community work included Middleton’s doctors’ surgery as well as Bognor Regis Council of Voluntary Service, Arun Leisure Centre and as a governor of two Felpham schools.

Present Jubilee Hall committee chairman Joyce Weston said the garden was the idea of the committee members.

“I knew Ted Chandler since 1977 when we were raising money for the hall. When it opened in 1982, he was the committee chairman and he stayed the chairman until he died.

“The garden has made this a really nice area out of somewhere which was horrible with concrete and knobbly stones,” she said.

Other names remembered on the garden’s plaques are Alfred and Hilda Parkinson, Geoff Matcham, Julia Cole, Bob Harding and Gerry Aldridge.