World famous Strawberry Field to open to Beatles' fans

Source: Xinhua| 2017-11-15 01:47:33|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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LONDON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- The go-ahead was given Tuesday to a project that will open the children's home made famous by a Beatles song so that fans can visit for the first time.

Thousands of Beatles devotees from across the world make the pilgrimage every year to Strawberry Field in Liverpool, featured in the John Lennon ballad, Strawberry Fields Forever.

The social charity and owner of the children's home, Salvation Army, plans to create a gift shop, a Beatles exhibition area and a training center for young adults with learning difficulties.

Liverpool City Council's planning committee approved the 2.6-million-U.S.-dollar plan on Tuesday.

Planning officers said in their report: "The profile and wider significance of the site is raised by its connection to the Beatles and the 1967 song 'Strawberry Fields Forever' which was inspired by John Lennon's childhood memories."

"The site, Strawberry Field, and specifically the gates at the entrance to the site, are widely recognized as an important cultural asset."

The green light for the project has come after a choir of young people recorded their version of the song at the famous Abbey Road studios in London where many of the Beatles' songs were made.

The song is part of a campaign by the Salvation Army to tackle unemployment and isolation among young people with special needs.

"Of one million people with learning difficulties in the UK, 93 percent are unemployed and 31 percent have no contact with family or friends," said a spokesman for the charity.

The re-opening of the former children's home as a new training hub will pave the way for some to get into the workplace.

Major Drew McCombe from the Salvation Army said the aim of the redevelopment was to do justice to the many people who have been supported by the children's home over the years.

"It's no secret that Strawberry Field was special to John Lennon. It mattered to him. Lennon grew up close to Strawberry Field, and gave generously to the home as soon as he got his first pay check. He also had a vision for it, expressed in the song, as a place where anybody, whatever their personal background and difficulties, could realize their dreams."

"Strawberry Field has the potential to bring that vision to life; changing the lives of young people with learning disabilities, who find it difficult to find gainful employment."

As a child, Lennon used to jump over the wall into the Salvation Army's Strawberry Field grounds where he would play with the children who lived there.

Peter Hooton, chair of The Beatles Legacy Group, said: "I can think of no better way Strawberry Field could be re-developed in such an innovative way, which gives hope and job opportunities to vulnerable young people, whilst making a valuable and worthwhile contribution to The Beatles Legacy in Liverpool."