Emotional Chelsea Return For Garden Designer John Everiss
Pierce client John Everiss has made an emotional return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show with a creation commemorating his father’s incredible escape from occupied France.
The Evaders Garden pays tribute to the French citizens who assisted RAF navigator Stan Everiss and other British servicemen in evading capture by the Nazis.
Stan was part of the seven-strong crew of an RAF Stirling shot down in Northern France while returning from a night bombing raid over Germany in April 1943.
The bomber’s pilot guided the burning plane between two cherry trees, removing both wings and reserve fuel tanks to avoid an explosion. All seven crew survived the crash landing.
Stan was knocked unconscious for several hours and suffered three compressed vertebrae in his back. He was found by members of the Chauny Resistance and kept hidden in a ditch nearby, initially deemed too poorly to move.
He was eventually moved from the crash site by wheelbarrow to the garage of Pere Alfred Logeon before being smuggled across the Pyrenees into Spain. He spent part of the journey hidden in the water tender of a steam train, immersed in near freezing water.
As arranged with his French helper, a message was broadcast by the BBC to indicate Stan’s safe return to England: “Les Muguets fleurissent encore,” translated as… “the lilies bloom again”.
Stan took a photograph of the damaged plane on a camera which he buried at the crash site. The camera was recovered and the photograph developed after the war.
Until his death in 1996, Stan was an accomplished public speaker who raised money for the RAF Escaping Society: sending funds to French helpers who needed assistance.
John Everiss Design teamed up with Chorley Council to create The Evaders Garden, which will have a permanent home in the town’s Astley Park at the end of the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show
The garden contains a wireframe statute of an RAF airman crouching alongside a replica of a shattered French church. A specially commissioned stained-glass window features two young French people, hands out-stretched to help.
John won a gold medal at the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show with Reachout, a garden sponsored by Newground (formerly Groundwork Pennine Lancashire).
- To find out more about The Evaders Garden go to the official RHS Chelsea Flower Show page or visit John’s facebook