Monday, 12 February 2007

Rachelville - A Fine Memorial

Imagination Island has just opened its doors to visitors - and there you will find Rachelville; but Rachel sadly will not see what has been built in her memory. She was only 7 when she died, in 2000, after a nine month battle against acute myeloid Leukaemia. Throughout her long illness she constructed a magical place in her imagination, Rachelville, peopling it with interesting characters and working out complex stories about their goings on.

Her parents, assisted by many friends, have now built this fitting memorial to her in Second Life - an area devoted to Children's literature. For me, the most striking feature is a recreation of the Secret Garden, complete with box hedge maze and a fully functioning swing. It's a beautifully realised, quiet spot in which to sit, chill and listen to the birds, while IM'ing friends in more hectic parts of SL. Another feature is a large, glass-roofed maze, themed around a library, with what seems to be a dragon at the centre. I've not tried it, but it looks pretty tricky to me. Dotted throughout the area are reading posts, where you can pick up information on a variety of Rachel's favourite books.

The site is serene and peaceful, without being saccharine, mawkish or maudlin - an impressive achievement and a delight to visit. More information can also be found here.

PS: I admit I went a bit over the top with the pictures - and they don't really do it justice.

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