Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION

Dedicated volunteers keep community beautiful

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During the hot lazy days of summer when many of us are travelling, or at cottages, or preferring the air-conditioned indoors, have you ever stopped to think about those unsung volunteers who keep some special green spaces looking good?


Who are they? Why do they do it?


Travelling north on Bridge Road up to Portage Avenue in Headingley, two manicured places might catch your eye.


A dedicated group of garden volunteers make sure that the grounds of Headingley United Church look good.


From the lawn in the Garden of Memories, to the flowers snuggled up by the church walls, the team nurtures all the plants. John Larkin has been volunteering to mow the lawn for 32 years.


"There were only about four couples helping out when I first started this (mowing the lawn)," Larkin says. "Now the garden team under the direction of Helen Wetter frequently includes from four to eight people."


The group gathers on Friday mornings to spruce things up. Plans for the Garden of Memories were initially drawn up by Gloria and Sandy McCaig in 1999. Since then, donations, in memory of a loved one, have purchased trees, shrubs,  flowers and benches to give life to the walking path. The children in the congregation helped to build birdhouses and currently enjoy Sunday picnics in the area.


When asked why he continues to do this weekly two-hour task, Larkin smiled, pointed up to the blue sky, saying: "I hope I get my payback up there."


Over at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Portage, the exquisite flower show is tended to by Ray and Inocencia Colley. This year’s blooms in pink and purple are magnificent to behold.


Next time you notice a nicely maintained space, think about those dedicated volunteers who make it look so good for us to enjoy and send them a thank you.


Valerie Chatain-White is a community correspondent for Headingley. You can contact her at valeriecw@thenext30years.com.

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