Berwick’s Harley Lawrence memorial garden will help community heal, remember

Nancy Kelly
Published on June 17, 2014

A group of students from Berwick and District School were joined by their friends and supporters for the planting of the Harley Lawrence Memorial Garden on June 17.

Sixteen students took part in the planting of the garden as part of their efforts to make Berwick a more caring, inclusive community.  The garden, located at the intersection of Union and Commercial Streets in Berwick, was created as a public memorial for 62-year-old Harley Lawrence who died in an overnight bus shelter fire in October last year. 

“Everybody got to do some planting,” said BADS vice principal Cindy Dickie, noting students also took some time to work on wording for the memorial plaque and “express themselves through art” by doing some on-site drawing and sketching.

Recent site preparation was followed by the installation of a circular stone paving walkway. In the weeks to come a water feature and a bench will also be added to the garden.

Ron Lawrence, Harley’s brother, attended the planting event. He had a chance to meet and talk with students privately before the planting.

“In a small town, this kind of thing is hard on everyone and it’s important to give youth the right message,” said Lawrence of his brother’s struggles with mental illness and life on the streets and his untimely death. Two local men -  Daniel Wayne Surette, 26, and Kyle James Fredericks, 25 -  have been charged with first degree murder in connection with Lawrence’s death.

Berwick business leader Harley Moody provided funds to develop the site, located on land donated by Serenity Lindsay Funeral Homes.

“It’s very important that people realize and remember. Without something like this (garden), people would forget Harley’s struggles. Sweeping things under the rug doesn’t do our community any good,’ furthered Moody.

“We all wish we could have done more (for Harley),” he added.

The garden will be officially dedicated when the landscaping and lighting is installed.