When Marguerite van Geldermalsen’s father told her about an invitation to plant a memorial tree for her mother, they thought it was a lovely idea. After all, her mum Janny, died last year.

“It’s such a nice way to remember people and so lovely that the funeral home offers this opportunity,” Marguerite says. 

Craig Mills, operations manager for Waimea Richmond Funeral Services, says that they run the event every July as a thank you to the families who have used their service within the 12 months.

“It’s a way to give back to grieving families and gives them something to visit and remember their loved ones by.”

On a crisp and sunny Saturday, Marguerite, her father, son and two grandchildren donned warm jackets and headed to Saxton Field for the ceremony. The event was attended by 70 people and 120 trees were planted, including kahikatea, matai, totara and titoki – all in memory of loved ones.

Owner of the funeral home, Francis Day, says the event was extra special this year.

“It was actually the 25th anniversary of our memorial tree planting day.”

He says that after planting, for around an hour, the families went back to the funeral home on Champion Road for refreshments and reflection.

“Everyone needed a warm drink after that.”

Many of the families took notes of the location of their special tree so they could follow its progress.

“We hope it brings comfort to those who need it,” Francis says.

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