Hamilton has honoured former city councillor Margaret Forsyth with the planting of a cherry grove linked to future cycling and walking paths.
Forsyth, who had a passion for cherry trees and was a fierce walking and cycling advocate, died in May this year while serving her third term as a Hamilton City councillor. She also had a stellar international netball career and spent time with the police force.
As a councillor, Forsyth was one of the first ones to advocate for a long-term cycling strategy for the city and at the time of her death chaired the city's Environment Committee.
Mayor Paula Southgate says: "It was a low-key event because that's what people wanted. But it was a very special time for us, as colleagues, to share some time with Margaret's family and plant a beautiful memorial for Margaret that I hope she would have loved. As time moves on, the grove will become something quite spectacular for everyone to enjoy."
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Councillor O'Leary said the cherry trees were a perfect choice given Margaret attended multiple Zoom meetings with blossoming cherry trees as her virtual background.
"She was still attending meetings just weeks before her death and those trees were a constant.
"Whenever I drive past the grove I will think of Margaret, particularly in spring and autumn when I know they will look stunning. It's a wonderful legacy from the city and a lovely way for me to remember a good friend."
Ten cherry trees have been planted in the Rostrevor St side of Hinemoa Park within the Western Town Belt. There is potential to lay a cycling and walking path through the grove, linked to other trails around the city.
A plaque acknowledging Margaret Forsyth and her achievements will be added to the grove in future.
The trees are Mountain Haze (Prunus yedoensis) cultivars, growing to around five metres high. This kind is known for their masses of scented small pale pink to white flowers with deep pink centres in early spring.