Tree planting ceremony in memory of respected Bexhill councillor and wife

Trees have been planted in memory of much-loved and respected Bexhill councillor John Lee and his wife Sheila.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2016, 1:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 10:01 pm
John Lee, who died last October

Family and friends of the couple held a recent ceremony at the Polegrove where the three trees were planted.

John died last October and his wife passed away in 2012.

He was the founder chairman of Save Our Seafront, which successfully campaigned in 2004/5 against plans to build three seven-storey buildings on the De La Warr green and car park.

John also founded the Bexhill Alliance and was a firm believer in the idea of a town council for Bexhill.

Nick Hollington, friend and current chairman of Bexhill Environmental Group (BEG), said: “Few Bexhillians are so lovingly remembered by so many as John and his wife. Friends who’d simply felt proud to know them sought something permanent to remember them by and pay tribute to their devotion and service to the town.

“The Lee family were then consulted and it was agreed contributions might be quietly raised for a memorial tree to be planted in a public place.

“The co-operation of Rother District Council’s (RDC) parks and green spaces department was then sought and willingly given.

“A diverse group of some 30 friends, together with Simon Lee, John and Sheila’s son, gathered in good spirits in the Polegrove to witness and assist the planting of not just one but three trees. So generous had been the friends’ contributions to the couple’s memory.”

Nick added a memorial plaque is currently being prepared and will shortly be placed at the site in the north-east corner.

He said: “The event was not at all a time for reflecting sadness at John and Sheila’s passing but for fond and happy reminiscences of them, which were aptly reflected in the short speech by Councillor Tony Mansi, who particularly recalled John’s humour as expressed in his army stories.

“Although the couple’s achievements were manifold, it had been their human qualities above all that had touched the heart of so many people in Bexhill that were celebrated in the ceremony which was followed by a cheerful gathering at Traffers.

“The friends of John and Sheila would like to thank Bernard Goffin, of English Woodland, for his advice and provision of the trees and RDC’s parks department for selecting and preparing the site and, with extremely limited assistance from those present, planting the trees, which they will continue to water and maintain.”

If anyone would like a tree planted and maintained in memory of a loved one under Rother’s new donated trees scheme contact RDC Parks and Green Spaces on 01424 787000 or Bexhill Environmental Group at [email protected].

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