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Six wards, six trees, six diamond celebrations

Press Release   •   Oct 22, 2012 14:01 BST

They were nominated by friends and family to plant a pear tree in each of Bury’s six townships. Pear trees are a symbol of immortality (because they live for a long time) and across Europe are often planted at weddings, as the longevity and fruitfulness of the trees are thought to give strength to the marriage and children.

Local people who are celebrating diamond occasions have planted Jubilee trees to mark the Queen’s 60-year reign.They were nominated by friends and family to plant a pear tree in each of Bury’s six townships. Pear trees are a symbol of immortality (because they live for a long time) and acrossEuropeare often planted at weddings, as the longevity and fruitfulness of the trees are thought to give strength to the marriage and children.

Three of the ‘planters’ were couples celebrating their diamond wedding anniversaries, plus two residents who had their 60th birthday and a community group which has been going strong for 60 years.

Councillor Mike Connolly, leader of the council, said: “We thought it would be a nice idea to ask local people, who all have their own diamond occasions this year, to plant these trees which will be enjoyed for generations to come as a lasting commemoration of the Queen’s diamond jubilee.”

The ‘planters’:

Stan and Kath Parkinson, who haved lived most of their lives in Bury, were chosen to plant a tree inOpenshawPark, Bury.

Stan (83) and Kath (82) were married 60 years ago at Christ Church, Walmersley. And incredibly, their best man Bob and bridesmaid Margaret got married the following year, and will celebrate their diamond wedding in 2013.

Kath said: “Their son nominated us, and it came out of the blue, which was very nice and thoughtful. Stan says that being married for 60 years is a double life sentence, as you only get 30 years for murder!” To which Stan added: “And you cannot apply for parole!” His recipe for staying together? “You never know what’s going to happen next, so you have to make the most of it.”

Fred and Doreen Bardsley are born and bred Ramsbottom people, so it was only fitting they were chosen to plant a tree in the town’sNuttall Park.

The couple, aged 84 and 79 respectively, were both pupils atSt Paul’s School in Ramsbottom and later got married at St Paul’s Church. They now have two children, five grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

“It was an honour, it was a lovely occasion,” said Doreen, whose team-mates in the Nuttall Park bowling team nominated them.

Whitefield residents Margaret and Tommy Smith planted their tree inWhitefieldPark.

Tommy (84) and Margaret (79) have lived in the borough for 46 years, after they got hitched at St Ambrose in Manchester. “We often joke that we’re actually not married because the church isn’t there any more!” says Margaret.

The couple have four children, nine grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren, and Margaret said: “It was lovely to go round the borough and watch everyone planting a tree. It’s been an excellent day.”

Planting a tree in St Mary’s Park in Prestwich was Marie Lilley from the Pets As Therapy charity, along with her dog Maisie which she takes to residential homes to visit the elderly. Maisie is one of 4,500 visiting dogs in the UK providing therapy in this way.

Popular local Lyn Breen, who is 60 this year, planted her tree inClosePark, Radcliffe.

 Sue Cuthbertson (president) and Irene Hill (next president) of Ramsbottom Soroptimists planted their tree in Towns Meadow in Tottington. The society has just celebrated its 60th year and is still going strong, supporting many charities across the area. They held a Jubilee party earlier this year at Ramsbottom Cricket Club.

 ENDS