Garden to accompany memorial seat

A BENCH seat remembering parishioner Brian Kelly and a newly established memorial garden were dedicated with a service in the grounds of St Patrick's Catholic Church in Kerang on Sunday morning.

FAMILY TIES. Brian Kelly's wife, Marie, seated left, daughters Melinda, Emily and Jo and his father, Denis, flanked by some of their extended family.

FAMILY TIES. Brian Kelly's wife, Marie, seated left, daughters Melinda, Emily and Jo and his father, Denis, flanked by some of their extended family.

In a short service, parish priest, Fr Novie Lim blessed the bench and a memorial rock bearing two plaques which has been installed in the garden. 

"This garden is a tribute and memorial to the life and service of those parishioners, priests and sisters who have left our lives but not our hearts. May their memory inspire us to continue to gather, share and build friendships within our faith community," one of the plaques reads.

The catalyst for the creation of a memorial garden at the church was an approach by the Kelly family, who wanted to install a bench in the grounds in memory of Brian, who died at the age of 58 in August last year after suffering from cancer, who was described as a much loved member of the church community and of his large extended family.

His cousin, Ron, came up with the idea to remember Brian with a bench seat and set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money from family and friends.

Brian's father, Denis Kelly, was moved by the gesture and by Saturday's ceremony.

"Brian was our eldest son and he was very good to us," said Mr Kelly, who lost his wife, Win, not long before his son died.

"When you see his peers want to do something special like this for him, not only are you more proud, but you feel the love you had for him is shared.

"Him and I worked together on the land for years and years and years. 

"You don't know God's ways sometimes but we have to accept them as best we can.

"I just hope this garden grows and grows," he said.

Parish Pastoral Council chairperson, Maureen Dagge said the garden was "an open canvas that will develop over time".

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