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A Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan – Now on Sale!

A deeply moving fictional story for children and young adults, A Song For Will: And the Lost Gardeners of Heligan is based on military archives and historical records from The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, one of the UK’s most popular tourist attractions, famed for its exotic and restored walled gardens.

A Song For Will is a richly illustrated story that skilfully and sensitively reflects the human cost and turmoil that affected every village, town and city in Europe and beyond during Word War One. The book pays tribute to the 13 outdoor staff from Heligan who enlisted – nine of whom never returned.

When the First World War is declared on 4th August 1914, errand boy, Alfie, is disappointed that he is too young to sign up. But his envy turns to despair as he begins to understand the brutal reality of battle.

During the four year conflict, Alfie's exchange of letters with Heligan stone mason, Fred Paynter, and the visits home of gardener, William Guy, paint a poignant picture of life at the front.  Reading them in a peaceful corner of England, the sanctuary of Heligan, Alfie realises just how different his life could have been.

Can Fred and Will survive the horrors of the Somme in 1916? And what shocking news might Alfie receive about other battles?

Many of the characters featured in the story including, Fred Paynter and William Guy are based on real people. Many of the landmarks at Heligan itself also feature in the story including the Sundial Garden, the Pineapple Pit, the Melon Yard, the Peach House, Flora’s Green, the Dove Tree and the Italian Garden.

Drawing on archives and historical records of The Lost Gardens of Heligan, as well as actual military archives, A Song for Will is a beautiful story of longing, loss, discovery and ultimately, of hope. 

A special section at the back of the book pays homage to the nine members of the outdoor staff who didn’t return, and to the four that did.

A Song for Will can now be purchased in the Heligan Shop and will soon be available online.