A tale of two benches
Market place memorial bench
In November 2017 a legacy was given to the Epsom and Ewell Royal British Legion Branch by Michèle Donald in memory of her late father, Adam Donald, an Epsom resident.
Adam lived from 17 January 1895 to 21 August 1974 and served in both World Wars, in the Scots Guards from 1914 to 1919 and the Royal Artillery from 1925 to 1945. During the 1942-1945 campaign he fought alongside the Gurkhas and received the Burma Star when his regiment was stationed in South-East Asia. Adam was also a very fit man and competitive cyclist, winning many medals. Two display cases of Adam’s memorabilia can be seen in Bourne Hall Museum.
When the Second World War ended Adam returned to civilian life in Epsom. Michèle, his only child, lived with her parents in Epsom until she moved to London in the 1950s to train as a physiotherapist. She subsequently became one of the top practitioners in the capital.
After working in Harley Street she started her own private practice and later joined BUPA as one of their main physiotherapists. Over many years she also helped many injured soldiers regain their mobility during convalescent periods in hospital.
Michèle left a legacy for the Royal British Legion Epsom and Ewell Branch and the Committee spent time trying to find a suitable way of spending some of the money locally. A significant part of the legacy has been given to the nearest Royal British Legion care home, Mais House at Bexhill-on-Sea.
Some of the legacy money has been used by the Royal British Legion to place the new memorial bench in the Epsom Market Place.
Ben lived in the Borough and went to a local school. In July 2019, at the age of 14 he passed away from a heart condition. His passing has left a huge hole in many lives, and particularly his friends.
Following Ben’s passing his friends started to congregate in Rosebery Park, around a large tree, where they created a makeshift shrine for him. In November 2019, the Council were approached about a memorial for Ben, and it was hoped something could be done in time for Ben’s birthday in February.
Our Operational Services team suggested of refurbishing some old redundant benches perhaps by Ben’s family and friends, so they could feel part of doing something. The family and friends took the project on, and in February 2020, three refurbished benches were installed for all Rosebery park users.