HMP Low Moss opens a Memorial Garden

A PLACE of quiet contemplation has been opened at HMP Low Moss for those paying their respects. 

The former marshland has been turned into a permanent space, to be used by staff and residents, including many who served in the Armed Forces. 

It features a monument built by those in our care, using slate cut from broken pool tables, with a model Spitfire plane, built at HMP Barlinnie, on top.

It also features a mural, completed in partnership with colleagues from Fife College, with the shadow of a soldier looking down on a field of poppies. 

The new garden has been unveiled as HMP Low Moss steps up plans to reinvigorate support services for veterans. 

Third sector organisations – including Erskine; Combat Stress; SACRO; the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH); the Armed Forces’ charity SSAFA; Scottish Veterans Residences (SVR); and Veterans First Point – were also invited in for a networking event to discuss what additional support can be offered to veterans who are now in custody. 

The garden was used to host an Armistice Day service, but will also be a valuable space for all at HMP Low Moss, all year round.

Karen Norrie, Governor of HMP Low Moss, said she hoped the space would be used by anyone who needs a space to recover from trauma and loss. 

“We decided to open this before Armistice Day, because it is really important that we use this area,” she said. 

“It’s a place we can come to recover from trauma and loss. Memorials have a whole lot of different meanings for different people, and at different times. 

“I’m so appreciative for the work that everyone’s done. This was a marshland a few months ago. Our staff have done an exceptional job, those in our care have done an exceptional job. 

“This will be here for a number of years. Hopefully, those who built it won’t be. But a lot of people will be able to use this in the future.” 

Brigadier Hugh Munro, formerly His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Prisons for Scotland, was invited to cut the ribbon, and reflected that it would be a pleasant space to remember loved ones. 

He said: “This derelict ground has been turned into something quite special. “It’s really pleasant to see this memorial and please urge other people, who are not veterans, to come and contemplate life, as will all of us who have served remember a mate, who is not here any longer. 

“I remember many mates who never came home, or who came home, but were badly injured or mentally scarred.” 

HMP Low Moss has a number of officers, as well as those in its care, who had previously served in the Armed Forces. 

Alan Henderson, Offender Outcomes Unit Manager, said: “We had a bit of spare ground that was going to be some form of memorial, but it never got used. 

“Ten years later we decided to turn it into a memorial remembrance garden. “The base of the monument was made of broken down pool tables. 

“They took the slate from the tables and cut it into slivers. It’s really effective. “HMP Barlinnie built the model Spitfire for us.” He said he could relate to veterans who struggle when they leave the Armed Forces, make mistakes, and end up spending time in custody. 

“I left home at 16, and until then my mum had done everything for me. I joined the Royal Navy and, as much as you had to grow up very quickly, they provided everything for me,” he said. 

“When I left I was a bit lost, and I can relate to how people end up in custody. They made the wrong choices, thankfully I made the right choice and, after a couple of other jobs, saw an advert for the prison service and decided to apply.”

May be an image of outdoors and tree