As one of his last acts in office, the Mayor of Christchurch for 2015-16 Cllr Frederick Neale planted a Ginkgo Bilboa tree in Christchurch Priory churchyard as a gesture of peace in memory of the bombings that took place during the Second World War in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The tree is a replica of one gifted to Christchurch by its twin town of Aalen in Germany. That tree was grown from a seed from one of the six Ginkgo Bilboa trees that survived the bombing of Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.
Those trees are looked after by the Green Legacy Project and seeds from them are collected and distributed around the world so that trees grow as signs for commemoration and hope.
The seed for the tree gifted to Christchurch was collected in 2013 and the tree was grown by the German Campaigner of the Mayors For Peace movement.
As the tree gifted from Aalen is not big enough to be planted outdoors, the replica tree has been planted. The gifted tree is being tended indoors and it is hoped it will be large enough to plant outdoors in around seven years.
The wording on a plaque next to the tree says, “Ginkgo Bilboa ‘Bearer of Hope’. Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki: working for a peaceful world without nuclear weapons. This tree is a replica of the tree gifted to Christchurch that was grown from seed collected from one of the 6 Ginkgo trees that survived the bombing on 6th August 1945 and commemorates twin town aspirations for world peace. Planted by His Worship the Mayor, Cllr F Neale.”
Cllr Neale said, “The tree was brought back from Aalen by Cllr David Flagg with the hope that it could be a symbol of peace in our twin towns. I hope that, as the tree grows, so will the message of commemoration and peace spread around the world.”