The son of a diner owner in Brockley who died suddenly has said he is “indebted to the community” as a memorial bench for his dad was unveiled.

Aldo Piscina, whose dad Rudi died of a heart attack in March, has been helping to plant Crofton Park’s Railway Garden which was unveiled this weekend (June 1). Rudi had run the Longhorn Diner on Brockley Road since August 2015.

One of the main features in the tranquil garden next to the station is Rudi’s bench, which is engraved with messages from his family.

News Shopper:

Rudi's bench is a central feature in the garden

His plaque reads: “Loving you is easy. Forgetting you is impossible” – a message written by his mother, Maria and translated from Italian.

Gesturing to the bench, Aldo said: “I love it. I’ve cried twice already. I sat on it earlier and it’s so nice to see how much the community cares.

“London can be such a selfish place and there are not a lot of communities who care for each other – but not in Crofton Park.

“Crofton Park and Brockley is as close to heaven as you’re ever going to get. It’s full of people who genuinely care for one another and help each other and say hello in the street.”

The Crofton Park Railway Garden, which will be open on weekdays from 9am-5pm was funded with grants from the GLA Greener City Fund, Veolia Environtment Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund and Lewisham Council's Small and Faith Grants.

News Shopper:

But Rudi’s bench was funded by the community, who had been raising money through the sale of Crofton Park bags.

Speaking to News Shopper in May, Maria Piscina said the support from the community was helping her deal with the loss of her son.

“My heart is broken for him, but little by little we’ll get through,” the 85-year-old said.

In anticipation for the official opening of the garden and the bench, Maria had made apple pies, pizza, and cherry and apricot tarts to sell on the day.

“We’ve been up since 7am making these,” Aldo laughed.

“[Maria] is really happy. She’s been waiting for this all week.”