Peace tree planted in Somerset as Theatre Boycott is recalled
A Peace Tree Campaign launched close to a year ago to promote peace locally and globally was marked with a presentation attended by one of the founding members of the Progressive Group.
Izola Harvey, 97, gave a speech at a tree planting in Springfield, Somerset about how in 1959 she did not let the fact that she was pregnant at the time limit her contribution to the Theatre Boycott, which led to the end of legalised segregation in Bermuda.
The Peace Tree Campaign began at Government House last year and involved the presentation of young native olivewood trees.
Members of the community gathered for an “insightful” tour of Springfield as well as Gilbert Nature Reserve and the Clyde Best Way mural wall bordering the property on February 18 to coincide with the formation of the Progressive Group.
The area at Springfield will now form an official part of a Bermuda National Trust tour.
Glenn Fubler, co-ordinator of the Peace Tree Campaign, said: “This latest presentation was done in collaboration with the Bermuda National Trust, the stewards of this centuries-old venue.
“They welcomed the Peace Tree Campaign to be a part of their scheduled tour of the area, which was wonderfully guided by BNT’s head of natural heritage, Myles Darrell.
“The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s Somerset office also played an invaluable role in the effort.”
Dennis Lister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, also attended the ceremony and spoke of the importance of Bermuda’s shared legacy and joining together in promoting a positive sense of community. Mr Lister, who is the area MP, said that the issue remains at the top of his agenda.
Mr Fubler said: “In keeping with the strategy of promoting the rich legacy of civic engagement in Bermuda, the timing of this peace tree presentation spoke to the beginning of the Progressive Group.
“That small group of youngish Bermudians first gathered in February 1959 on a weekend to secretly map out a strategy to transform our society to the benefit of all.
“Three of those pioneers were Somerset residents Gerald and Izola Harvey, as well as the late Dr Stanley Ratteray, founder and chairman of the group.”
The peace tree planted at the event was donated by Aideen Ratteray-Pryse, daughter of Dr Ratteray.
Also joining the occasion was Michael Forde, who runs a shop on the property. Mr Fubler noted that Mr Forde had been subjected to antisocial activity but in the wake of the incident was “responsive rather than reactive”, empathetically calling for more programmes to assist those caught up in drugs and alcohol.
Mr Fubler said: “The Peace Tree Campaign is but one community response out of concern regarding incidents of antisocial activities and the cycle of violence.
“This has involved fostering collaboration among stakeholder organisations from St George's to the West End.”
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