Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Arboretum @ Dissenter of Sidmouth >>> tree planting Tues 10th November

The Arboretum has been quite active of late, having appeared at the Science Festival and published its survey of the Valley's trees:
The value of protecting our trees: £170million replacement cost - News - Sidmouth Herald

Another event will be taking place next month, when the Arboretum and members of the Unitarian Dissenting Meeting House congregation will be planting a fig tree and rose.

At sunset on Tuesday 10th November, a short dedication ceremony will be held in the cemetery gardens of the Dissenters’ Old Meeting House, also known as the Unitarian Church. 

This will form part of the series of events being put together during November, which will include a ‘tree summit’ of organisations who are involved in caring for the trees of the Sid Valley, as well as an event parallel to the UN conference on climate change. The public are more than welcome to attend both events. Refreshments will be available.

To provide some context to the event of 10th November:

By the early twenty-first century the cemetery was overgrown with elder bushes, thistles and dandelions, the railings and gate were rusting, the retaining wall and path had become hazardous, and the site was becoming little more than an eyesore at the top of the High Street. In 2011 the Trustees of the Unitarian Dissenting Meeting House decided to take it in hand. With donations from current users of the buildings (East Devon Dance Academy and other community groups) as well as financial help from the Unitarian congregation and endowments from previous generations of Unitarians, and employing the skills of local builders, decorators, botanists and gardeners, the site was restored, old gravestones were uncovered and a “memorial peace garden” was planted with advice from the Sidmouth Arboretum, who also made a gift of a crab-apple tree. The cemetery site will be formally dedicated with the re-planting of a fig tree and a rose at sunset on November 10th 2015.

A spokesperson said: “The identities of those whose memorial stones remain have yet to be investigated. Future plans for the site include the commissioning of a sculpture recalling the Great Ejection of 1662 and a memorial to Hugh Barlow, chair of the Unitarian congregation who died on August 27th 2015. As part of our commitment to inter-generational justice, we aim to make the entire complex of buildings and gardens at Dissenter of Sidmouth self-sustaining and carbon neutral over the coming decades. Fifteen meters above sea-level, it has the potential to endure as a community facility for another three centuries of change. All offers of help will be gratefully received. Contact dissenterofsidmouth@gmail.com

More information at:
A short history of the Cemetery Garden at Dissenter of Sidmouth

The Meeting Hall is in the centre of town:
Sidmouth Dissenter - Sidmouth Town Council

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