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Councillors fear tree tributes turn town into ‘memorial garden’

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 01, 2014

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Newent Lake, by Andrew Hill

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COUNCILLORS say Newent will end up turning into a “memorial garden” if more people request to have trees with plaques planted in tribute to their loved ones.

One family has recently written to the parish authority to ask to have an oak tree planted near the town lake so a 13-year-old boy would have somewhere to mourn the loss of his father.

Some members seemed disgruntled by the request. One claimed the “wrong trees” have been planted in certain places before and another added: “What about his request for a plaque? We will have them all over the place.”

Councillor Anthony Parsons said: “We should say this is the tree and this is how much it is going to cost. End of story.”

Councillor Len Lawton said the council should learn more about the man for whom the tree will be planted so the parties can see if the “two minds meet”.

He said: “I am very concerned Newent doesn’t turn into a memorial garden. If we keep adding plaque after plaque after plaque, there will be one after every corner.”

The mother of the man who passed away this year, who said she wanted to remain anonymous, wrote to the council on behalf of her grandson, who wanted to have the tree planted to the left- hand side of the lake where it is less likely to be vandalised.

She said: “There are trees around the lake that have name plaques on and I can’t see why they would say no to this one.”

The woman said her son was “born and bred in Newent” but did not want to identify him.

She added: “It is very important that my grandson has somewhere to go and grieve and say, ‘that’s my dad’s tree’. He is only 13, so it is a bad age.”

The woman said a meeting has been scheduled with councillors next week and believes the family’s chances “look favourable.”

Last year, several trees at Newent Lake were attacked by vandals, prompting calls for police to step up patrols in the area.

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