Gore seat unveiling

From left : Peggy Snoep, Vic Herring, Norman Dickie, Trish Conradsen(nee Lamont), and Arne Clelland with the memorial seat.

A memorial seat in honour of Margaret and Don Lamont was unveiled at Gore on Saturday   with ( left) Southland Forest and Bird representative Peggy Snoep, Gore and Districts  Amenities Charitable Trust chair, Vic Herring, Norman Dickie, Trish Conradsen(nee Lamont) and  Gore Re- afforestation project organiser, Arne Clelland all involved.

It was a day of memories and reflection as a group of about 35 gathered at the previous Gore landfill site to unveil a memorial seat acknowledging the vision of Margaret and Don Lamont. They wanted  to turn the area in to forest habitat, close to Gore township, for people to use for recreation, to relax and listen to the birds.

The plaque on the seat, unveiled by their daughter Trish Conradsen and long- time friend and Forest and Bird Southland member Peggy Snoep, states 'Margaret and Don Lamont- They had the vision of a forest restored'.

Gore Re- afforestation project organiser, Arne Clelland, said people attending including family, friends, Forest and Bird Southland members, Gore River Valley Lions club, well- wishers and people who use the area, coming to help, including children.

"After the unveiling we planted  a totara close by the seat area for each of Margaret and Don as well as for their long- time friend Norman Dickie who is in his 100th year and was present to lend a hand," he said. "After some short speeches we gave a few instructions about planting methods before everyone got involved in putting in 204 plants, as well as surrounding them with protectors."

While they were working people enjoyed hearing the birds, especially tui, singing in the eucalyptus trees nearby.

Gore’s Ian Withers made the seat out of macrocarpa and his woodworking skills were appreciated. Kevin Marshall from Gore created the brass plaque.

Forest and Bird member Gay Munro said the first native plantings along the Waikaka Stream, done in 2008, now stand over three metres high. 

"The view from the memorial seat looking up the Waikaka Stream is stunning," she said. "I noticed a threatened species, Olearia fragrantisima, is well established and flowering which is promising."

Several Gore groups have made a commitment to helping plant up the area over the past few years, especially Gore Rotary and Gore River Valley Lions club. Gore Rotary put in 600 plants recently, over three nights, having been involved from the beginning. Gore River Valley Lions club has become involved as part of their Centennial Project to look after our environment.

"The previous plantings are coming along well which is very encouraging," Clelland said. "On- going maintenance is essential and appreciated and people who want to help can contact me at Pukerau Nursery for instructions and dates of  working bees so we can continue to make the Lamont's vision a reality."