Published Monday 17 July 2017

A garden dedicated to the life and achievements of Sir Nicholas Winton has been officially opened by the Prime Minister and Maidenhead MP, the Rt Hon Theresa May.

The Sir Nicholas Winton Memorial Garden, at Oaken Grove Park, Maidenhead, was designed and built by the Royal Borough in honour of Sir Nicholas’ brave actions on the eve of the Second World War that led to the rescue of 669 children from Nazi-occupied Prague.

The special opening ceremony on Friday 14 July included international guests and representatives from across the community including ambassadors from the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Sir Nicholas’ family and members of Maidenhead Synagogue.

Other guests included Royal Borough councillors, officers and representatives from the town’s Mencap, Rotary and Abbeyfield organisations. Youth groups including the Scouts, Girl Guides and local school children were also invited.

Theresa May said: “I had the pleasure of meeting Sir Nicholas and some of the grown up children who owed their lives and futures to him. 

“He was a man who devoted his whole life, day in and day out, to active goodness.  

“It’s wonderful we have this garden in Maidenhead and I hope it will inspire people, young and old, to come here, think about Nicky and be encouraged to help others.”

The Prime Minister also thanked the designers, the Winton family and everyone involved in the project for all their hard work.

Cllr Samantha Rayner, cabinet member for culture and communities, said: “It was an honour to be part of the official opening of the garden and to have so many people come together to recognise and remember Sir Nicholas from local and international communities.

“Sir Nicholas’ actions not only saved hundreds of lives but also remind us of the good within the ordinary men and women who make up our community.

“Being able to welcome his family and representatives from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Maidenhead Synagogue helped to further highlight the bonds that we share, no matter where you come from.

“I hope that this garden can become a space for residents and visitors to enjoy throughout the year and as a quiet place to reflect on the great man who inspired its design.”

Nick Winton, son of Sir Nicholas, said: "This is a perfect place to remember others who are dear to us and to reflect on life. I have already spent several hours here in contemplation.

“It was very moving to discover a bunch of flowers and a card to the victims of the recent terrorist attack in Manchester. It was placed on the inscription of one of my father’s quotations.

“I love the idea that there is a place in Maidenhead where people can lay a tribute. This shows it is an uplifting and special place to spend a little time."

The garden has been created to reflect the life and story of Sir Nicholas’ part in organising the rescue of hundreds of children who were brought to the UK by train to escape persecution and the wider war.

Railway sleepers run through the garden alongside a pathway that is marked by stones bearing quotes from Sir Nicholas that were selected by his family.

At the centre sits an ornamental pond with a central fountain. 

Sir Nicholas lived much of his life in Pinkneys Green until he died in 2015 at the age of 106.