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Community comes together to plant tree in much-loved park

Published: 29 January 2020

Members of the community come together to plant a tree in Belmont Park

A tree planting event brought members of the community together in a popular park in Exeter.

There was a good turnout when local charity Exeter Ethiopia Link planted the tree in Belmont Park to raise awareness of climate change and deforestation in Africa.

The charity donated the tree to the City Council-run park to make it even greener and remind people about the work they are carrying out in Ethiopia.

Membership secretary Gentian Dyer said: “What a great afternoon - it exceeded our expectations! Not only did we manage to plant the tree in the sunshine but we had some really interesting conversations, gained new members, new energy - and even some funds.”

The tree was planted in memory of the late John Rainger who supported the charity.

2020 is the Year of the Tree for Exeter Ethiopia Link. They will now be turning their attention to tree planting in Nekempte, the town in Ethiopia they first made links with 32 years ago.

The charity was set up in 1987 by Exeter people who responded to the tragic pictures of famine shown on our on TV screens. It followed hot on the heels of the famous Band Aid initiative and the charity is still going strong.

These days the charity focuses on a positive improvement each year. 2019 was the Year of the Library, with the group paying librarian salaries and setting up libraries in Nekempte schools. The libraries project is continuing with the support of national funding.

Looking for a new focus for 2020, the group decided it was the right time to respond to a request from people in Nekempte to raise funds to plant trees, which will help tackle deforestation and climate change in Ethiopia, as well as making the area more beautiful. 

Gentian added: “Ethiopia has set a high bar by being the country which planted 350 million trees in a single day! We wanted to do our bit to contribute.”

Cllr Trish Oliver, Member Champion for Equality & Diversity, said: “Thanks to hard working volunteers, and the Council’s help, we now have one more flourishing tree in Belmont Park and many more to be planted in Nekempte this year.

To find out more about the initiative email or visit the Exeter Ethiopia Link website

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