Park to be planted with trees as memorial
Hundreds of native seedlings will be planted at Ivon Wilson Park in Te Anau tomorrow as a memorial for nationally ranked race walker Lesley Cantwell, who died in Tahiti last month.
Ms Cantwell, 26, died from a brain haemorrhage four days after collapsing at the Oceania track and field championships.
The Fiordland Athletic Club and Fiordland College hope to plant 400 native seedlings to remember Ms Cantwell and as part of a wider community project to develop the park.
Ms Cantwell's father, Fiordland College deputy principal Shaun Cantwell, said it would be a special day for his daughter and the community.
"It does have a lot of meaning in terms of being a special day for Lesley, especially these trees that will carry on for hundreds of years.
"It just makes it really special to know that [they will live a long time], and that thousands of people will use and get pleasure from the park," he said.
His daughter spent "thousands of hours a year" training in Ivon Wilson Park, and she and her family had also helped develop the park's all-purpose trails, he said.
He remembered his granddaughter, Brooke, 3, helped to move branches for the trails last summer.
The community has since developed 12 kilometres of all-purpose trails and the next stage is to plant native trees.
Fiordland Athletic Club captain Dwight Grieve said Ms Cantwell touched the community and her death had turned some people's lives upside down.
Seedlings would be planted as a memorial for her, and as part of the design and development of the park, he said.
It was also for the community which had been through a hard time with the closure of the Milford road this year, Mr Grieve said.
The memorial coincides with the 2013 McIndoe Casket athletics race today.
An informal run will start at 9am from the Marakura Yacht Club, followed by seed planting and a walk at Ivon Wilson Park at 11am.
A barbecue lunch and raffle will follow at the yacht club. Native seedlings cost $2 per seedling.
Some proceeds will go to Ms Cantwell's daughter, Brooke.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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