It’ll be some time before Saturday’s dreadful events in Reading’s Forbury Gardens will enable us to think of the place in the way we used to.

What has long been a remarkable asset to the town in the historic Abbey Quarter is suddenly a place of grieving.

Hopefully the victims can be acknowledged appropriately when the gardens eventually re-open and the public will once again enjoy using this area.

This historic quarter has been rising in prominence, especially since the closure of Reading Gaol in 2013. Few towns have a beautiful park in the centre, especially one which leads directly into a scheduled monument. The gaol itself has a whole history of its own that the town is hoping to be able to celebrate once its new ownership is announced.

The property sector had become more aware of that part of town in recent years and Forbury Gardens is exactly the sort of open space we need more than ever. About 15 years ago it was restored to the look it had in Victorian times and has been meticulously maintained ever since. Now, just as getting out and about has become possible, we are reminded that evil lives among us.

The gaol campaign helped create a strength of community in Reading that is needed now more than ever.

That community could help ensure that Forbury Gardens, once again, becomes our park and that Saturday’s act of terror doesn’t stop people benefitting from what the town offers.

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