Northern Ireland news

Meditation garden designed by landscape gardener killed in hit-and-run unveiled in Co Antrim

Donal and Margaret Bradley, the parents of Matthew Bradley, who was killed in a hit-and-run in Liverpool in 2017. Picture by Mal McCann

A MEDITATION garden designed by a talented landscape gardener before he was killed in a hit-and-run has been unveiled in Co Antrim.

A "tranquil place of reflection", the beautifully landscaped Glenclare Community Garden was opened by the parents of Matthew Bradley at St Clare's Community Hall in Glenavy.

Built by Mr Bradley's father with input from his mother Margaret, the garden was inspired by the design work of their 24-year-old son who died in a tragic road crash in Liverpool in November 2017.

Mr Bradley, who was originally from Glenavy but lived in Guildford, was struck by a car close to the Albert Dock while attending a friend's stag party.

Matthew Bradley

He was described by his family as a "funny, kind-hearted and generous young man" who was "hugely talented and award-winning in his chosen career of landscaping gardening - following in his dad's footsteps - and had an illustrious career ahead of him".

Renowned for his expertise and skill in landscape gardening, he was making a name for himself in the industry before his death.

His mother Margaret told The Irish News that her son had created the garden design for the Glenclare Community Group as part of its ambitious plans to improve facilities at St Clare’s Hall.

But sadly, he was never able to see the fruits of his labour.

Donal and Margaret Bradley, the parents of Matthew Bradley, at the official opening of the Glenclare Community Garden at St Clare's Community Hall at Chapel Road in Glenavy. Picture by Mal McCann

"Matthew designed the garden three years ago and his dad and his workers have now built the garden," she said.

"The directors of the hall wanted a meditation garden, a place for the whole community to use.

"The plans were drawn up and funding was secured by DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) to develop and improve facilities at the hall, which have included asphalting of the car park and installing Wi-Fi.

"Now the garden is complete, which is bitter-sweet that it is something Matthew designed."

At the event yesterday, his parents also revealed a stone flag they have received from the landscape design and build company their son worked for, which incorporates their son's signature.

"Matthew had a very distinctive signature," she said.

"He worked for Landform Consultants and just before his death he and his girlfriend had submitted a garden design for the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show.

"The company last year created the garden for the show in memory of Matthew and included one the flags with his signature engraved on it. We now have one of the flags, which is lovely."

The Glenclare Community Garden at St Clare's Community Hall in Glenavy. Picture by Mal McCann

Mrs Bradley also said the community garden incorporates a memorial aspect to the site, in honour of their son and the other young people who have died in the area.

"We asked that the garden be in memory of all the young people of the area who have died, a peaceful place for everyone to visit," she said.

Donal and Margaret Bradley, the parents of Matthew Bradley, who was killed in a hit-and-run in Liverpool in 2017. Picture by Mal McCann

The Glenclare Community Garden at St Clare's Community Hall in Glenavy. Picture by Mal McCann

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