Over Wyre couple transform garden to replicate safari in son's memory
A couple from Knott End have transformed their garden with life-size steel sculptures of safari animals in memory of their son who died suddenly last year.
Roger Rimmer, 76, and his wife Susan, 75, suffered the devastating sudden loss of their son Maurice, 47, in January 2020.
Five months later, Roger contracted Covid-19 and became seriously ill, which resulted in a five-week stay in Blackpool Victoria Hospital.
The combination of traumatic incidents took its toll on Susan's mental health, and she was admitted to the Harbour mental health hospital after suffering with a breakdown, where she received treatment for three months.
Roger, who lives in Links Road, said: "When we both got well and out of the hospitals, that's when we started this collection of animals.
"We wanted to do it as a tribute to the staff at the Victoria and the Harbour, because they got us out of there and we were happy to be alive. We also wanted to support the community in Nairobi, who make the sculptures out of scrap metal."
The sculpture collection began by chance when the couple, who are now retired but used to own a smallholding in Anglesey, stumbled across one outside a warehouse in Ormskirk.
They were inspired to start their safari garden after spotting a life-size giraffe, and thought their son Maurice would have liked it.
Since their first purchase, they have spent around £20,000 on recreating a safari, and have a total of 15 animals, with a new cobra sculpture currently on order from Nairobi.
Roger continued: "We were driving through Ormskirk and saw this huge giraffe outside Pangea Sculptures, where we now get them from. We thought, Maurice would have liked that.
"He would have loved the idea of having a giraffe in the garden. The most expensive sculpture we've bought was the rhinoceros, which is also my favourite one. It cost £3,000."
The collection has attracted attention from numerous passers-by, some of whom have asked if they can have a look around the garden and even take pictures with the sculptures.
"We don't do it for any financial gain, it's just something we get pleasure out of," Roger continued.
"Children really enjoy them and we invite people in to have a look if they're standing by the gate trying to see them. It's a bit of fun."