News & Events

Reading’s Forbury Gardens reopens to allow residents to pay their respects to James, Joe and David

Jul 16, 2020 | Response Pastors

Forbury Gardens in Reading Picture: Phil Creighton


FORBURY GARDENS in Reading has been reopened, three weeks after an alleged attack which saw three people lose their lives and a further three people injured.

Thames Valley Police had closed the park to gather evidence, but earlier today Reading Borough Council announced that it is now available for people to visit for a time of quiet reflection.

Tributes left for James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails, including flowers and pictures left outside The Holt School, have been moved to the bandstand.

The council said that although many of the flowers are three weeks old, they have been added to the tribute for mourners to see.

It is possible for new tributes to be left here as well.

And working with Yes Events, from tonight Reading Borough Council will illuminate the Maiwand Lion and the Forbury bandstand for two hours each night, between 9pm and 11pm, in an act of remembrance and hope.

The temporary lighting display will be in position for a period of two weeks and is being provided at no cost to the Council.

Tributes left at the Forbury Gardens bandstand Picture: Reading Borough Council

In a statement, Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock said: “It is now nearly three weeks since the horrific events at Forbury Gardens, which nobody in Reading will ever forget.

“As always, our thoughts remain firmly with the families of James, Joe and David. Now that the Gardens have re-opened, we fully appreciate that people will want to visit in their own time and for a period of quiet reflection.

“Everybody is, of course, more than welcome to do that and see flowers that have been laid to pay tribute to the victims, or to lay a tribute themselves.”

He added: “The Forbury’s Maiwand Lion quickly became a symbol of Reading’s response to the events of June 20.

“Over the coming weeks we will be marking that magnificent and dignified response by lighting up both the historic statue and the Forbury bandstand in an act of remembrance and hope.”

Those visiting the Forbury Garden who need support will be able to visit an information point staffed by Thames Valley Police until Sunday and Reading Street Pastors will be present between noon and 1pm and 7.30pm to 8.30pm on a daily basis until next weekend.

And a special website has been launched offering information about councselling and support. There is also a book of condolence, and an opportunity to donate to the families of those who died and those who have been affected by the attack.

It can be found at