New memorial garden dedicated to SLt Abbigail Cowbrough

The new garden is meant to be a space for anyone to come to reflect on nature, think, and remember SLt Abbigail Cowbrough. Photo by Jessica Miller

The new garden is meant to be a space for anyone to come to reflect on nature, think, and remember SLt Abbigail Cowbrough. Photo by Jessica Miller

Joanie Veitch
Trident Newspaper

A memorial flower garden in honour of SLt Abbigail Cowbrough was officially dedicated on July 30 at the Veteran Farm Project in Sweet’s Corner, NS, a veteran-run organization that grows farm produce for food packages delivered weekly to veterans and families in need.

With about 25 attendees gathered under tents during heavy rain, Jessica Miller, who owns the farm along with her husband Steve Murgatroyd, began the ceremony by welcoming the guests, which included S1 Shane Cowbrough, father to SLt Cowbrough; other military personnel; Kody Blois, MP for the Kings-Hants area; representatives from the Royal Canadian Legion; and farm staff and volunteers.

Miller said the idea of a creating garden in Sub-Lt Cowbrough’s memory seemed a natural fit as the Veteran Farm Project has evolved into a healing space for women veterans who volunteer at the farm.

SLt Cowbrough died on April 29, 2020, when the CH-148 Cyclone helicopter she was on crashed into the sea off the coast of Greece, while returning to HMCS Fredericton after a training flight as part of Operation Reassurance.

Five other CAF members also died in the Stalker 22 crash: Capt Kevin Hagen, Capt Brenden MacDonald, Capt Maxime Miron-Morin, Master Cpl Matthew Cousins, and SLt Matthew Pyke.

Miller reflected on her own military experience as a former medic on board navy ships, serving 21 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. She said she felt a kinship with SLt Cowbrough and was deeply affected by the news of her death.

“I had sailed those seas and I had flown in those helicopters. I knew what it was like to be there and I felt, as a woman, this would be a special place for her to feel safe and to be honoured,” Miller said. “This is a space for anyone who wants to come and reflect and enjoy nature; a place to think and remember her – a beautiful woman.”

S1 Cowbrough, Abbigail’s father, noted the carved image of a bird in flight on the wooden sign at the entrance to the garden holds special significance as both he and his daughter had matching tattoos of that same image.

“During Fredericton’s deployment they were able to get on shore before COVID took that away from them. Abbigail visited the town of Chania in Greece, which is where I had that tattoo done on my chest, and she got the same tattoo,” he said. 

Following the ceremony, S1 Cowbrough reflected on how memorials such as this, and the many other tributes in his daughter’s honour, speak to the kind of person she was.

“Everybody thinks their kid is special. I thought that, for sure, but it’s not until you see how much of an impact she had on so many people in such a short amount of time. She just had such amazing drive and energy,” he said. 


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  1. Marlene Magill / Paul Johnson says:

    Wonderful tribute to our friend Abbi. Love it! 🥰

  2. This is spectacular, As Abbigail’s mother I really wish I had been invited. It would have been nice to be included with my family. I am sorry I missed this.

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