Friends of St Martin's Gardens

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A tree for Barry

Barry's dogs Rocky & Princess viewing the tree

Three years ago, local community volunteer Barry Sullivan died of cancer on the day of our community fete. We'd often bump into Barry in the Gardens on his way to assist locals, yet he always had time for a quick chat on his way past. He would have loved the fete as local people enjoyed the company of their neighbours and local businesses were very generous. We managed to raise some money through the tombola and raffle and decided that after our expenses of insurance for the event, some of the proceeds could go towards planting a memorial tree for Barry.

Mike watering in the tree

After consultation with Camden Parks and Open Spaces, and suggestions from the Camden Garden Centre, we organised a tree planting for November 2011, as autumn/winter are the optimal seasons for planting trees.  Mike from the Camden Garden Centre volunteered his time so we could also use the commemoration as a planting demonstration.

Plume, chair of our Friends group, asked all attendees to contribute their memories of Barry to write in a card for the tree, and the phrases flowed from the 40 or so people present. Fittingly it was a stunning autumn day, perfect for remembering a much missed neighbour & friend. The tree is planted at the St Martin's Close corner of the gardens, where it will benefit from year round sun. It's an amelanchier, which has both spring blooms and autumn foliage. The tree is also surrounded with bulbs that should flower successively through spring. Although there is no plaque on the tree, Barry is also commemorated in a nearby park bench, which was dedicated by his friends last year.

Plume capturing the memories

Messages on the card remembering Barry

Plume and Mike with
the tree to their left
A stunning  autumn day
with the roses still in bloom

Thanks to Camden Parks & Open Spaces and the Camden Garden Centre for helping us make this tribute to Barry possible.