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Dedicated to the ones we loved and lost; Special ceremony to take place at Alnwick Garden.

Byline: Phil Doherty

ASPECIAL dedication ceremony for those who have lost loved ones is to take place at The Alnwick Garden's Cherry Orchard.

The commemoration is part of a wider three-day Cherry Blossom Festival which will feature different aspects of Japanese culture including calligraphy, origami, martial arts and a bonsai exhibition.

Each of the cherry trees in the orchard were bought by relatives and friends of people who have passed away and today they will be able to pay their respects in a moving ceremony that will see traditional Japanese lanterns floated on the pond in their memory.

The Duchess of Northumberland said: "The Cherry Orchard is a peaceful place, where we can make time for memories and contemplation. The moving stories of those who have dedicated trees to loved ones make it somewhere very special, and how wonderful that people feel that it has such meaning for them and for their families.

"The dedication ceremony is very touching, and the floating of the lanterns on the pond gives a simple yet poignant moment for remembrance."

Guests will be greeted in the Garden Pavilion's atrium by the Duchess of Northumberland while specially-composed music for the festival will be played by musicians.

Then a procession, led by young dancers from Alnwick, will walk to the Cherry Orchard so relatives can visit their tree before taking a lantern to the pond, to be floated on the water in memory of loved ones.

The garden will be decorated with silk banners made by visitors and local schoolchildren.

Mick Scott, 72, of Woburn Drive, Bedlington, Northumberland, bought three cherry trees at The Alnwick Garden's orchard in memory of his wife Eve, 78, who died two years ago. He also bought a memorial bench - partly from money raised from donations in lieu of flowers at his wife's funeral.

He said: "My wife Eve had a severe stroke in 1999 before the garden was completed. I always hoped to be able to take her to see the gardens because, like me, she loved gardening and particularly loved cherry trees and water features. But sadly I never managed to get her there before she died in 2008.

"It means an awful lot to me to have this area as The Alnwick Garden is the nearest thing to heaven on Earth. I often go to the Gardens and sit on the bench and think how much Eve has missed since she passed away. I miss her terribly and I find comfort in knowing that part of the garden is Eve's."

The Japanese Cherry Tree Orchard is one of the biggest of its kind in the world with hundreds of trees planted in a quiet part of the garden.

On Saturday there are a number of Japanese-themed activities including a kite display from 10am to 4pm, workshops on calligraphy, origami and the Japanese language from experts from the Teikyo University of Japan, based in Durham.

On Sunday there will be a kite display, Japanese craft workshops, the Bonsai exhibition and a demonstration from the Duchess' own martial arts club DFM Martial arts based in Alnwick and the Sunderland Kogusoku Aikido club.


GREETING The Duchess of Northumberland MEMORY Mick Scott with a photograph of himself and wife Eve, in whose memory he has bought cherry trees at The Alnwick Garden's Cherry Orchard
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 23, 2010
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