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Willows Plaque To Be Unveiled

A plaque, commemorating the man responsible for Christchurch's weeping willows, is to be installed on the banks of the River Avon in Victoria Square.

The origin of the weeping willows, planted along the banks of the Avon River, is well known, says the Christchurch City Council's arborist, Walter Fielding-Cotterell. It is said that Francois Le Lievre, a whaler who settled in New Zealand, is credited with bringing the first weeping willows to Canterbury. Le Lievre stopped at the island of St Helena on his first voyage to New Zealand and, while there, took cuttings from the weeping willows surrounding the grave of Napoleon. He planted the cuttings when he landed in Akaroa. Two grew to provide the source for the weeping willows planted in Christchurch. Mr. Fielding-Cotterell says in view of the wide public interested in the subject, a commemorative plaque, mounted on a rock, will be erected on the Victoria Square river bank near three large weeping willows. Le Lievre's great-great-granddaughter, Marie Le Lievre, of Akaroa, initiated the idea of a plaque to commemorate Francois and his association with the weeping willows of Christchurch.

The plaque will be unveiled on Thursday 29 March at 2pm by Cr. Sally Buck. The rock will come from Victoria Park and that, too, has a family connection as Marie Le Lievre's father was a member of the 19th Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Battalion and Armoured Regiment, which has a memorial in the park.

Further information: Walter Fielding-Cotterell: 371 1630 or 025 549 287 or Marie Le Lievre: 03 304 7160.

Christchurch City Council http://www.ccc.govt.nz

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