The true spirit of Christmas was in the air in Brooke Park on Wednesday morning.
Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown and Reverend Katy McIntyre from Christ Church came together to plant a tree of embrace for all those who had passed away throughout Rosemount, the Glen, Ballymagroarty and Hazelbank areas in 2014.
The inter-denominational remembrance service was attended by local residents, school children, local councillors and community workers.
The event was organised by the Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership and Christmas carols were sung by the children from Gaelscoil na Daroige and Rosemount Male Voice Choir sang a beautiful rendition of ‘Adeste Fideles’ (O Come, All Ye Faithful).
Local Rosemount resident, Lily O’Hagan, helped the Bishop and Reverend McIntyre to plant the tree of remembrance.
Organiser of the event, Cathal Crumley, Community Engagement Officer for Outer West, said he was over the moon with the attendance at the service and praised the local schools for their input.
“I have to congratulate all of the schools here today and in particular, I thought the children from Gaelscoil na Daroige sang beautifully.
“The reason we wanted to do this was because we wanted to give people the opportunity to remember all those people who have passed away from the Outer West area in 2014 and in other years.
“On behalf of the Outer West Neighbourhood Partnership I would like to thank everyone who came along to this year’s memorial service. It was great to listen to the words of both Reverend Katy McIntyre and Bishop McKeown and it was great that they came to share in this great day with all of us,” said Cathal.
School children from the Model P.S., Rosemount P.S., St. Mary’s College and Gaelscoil na Daroige all attended the service.
The children from Gaelscoil na Daroige sang an Irish hymn called ‘Dia do Bheatha’ and as soon as they had finished the entire group of people in attendance applauded them.
After the children had finished singing, Reverend Katy McIntyre from Christ Church stepped forward and read a prayer.
Bishop of Derry, Donal McKeown then spoke and said he was happy to see so many children at the service.
“It’s important that we remember the people who have gone before us and it’s lovely that we are able to do this by planting a memorial tree.
“It’s also important for us to use opportunities like this to remember the special virtues and to build a better future for our children - because as the advertisement says ‘you are worth it’,” said Bishop.
Donal McLaughlin who attended the service said it was a great opportunity for people like him to remember the friends and family.
“I’ve been living in this area for the best part of 20 years and I have made so many friends.
“I’ve lost relatives and neighbours down through the years but I think an event like this gives people like me the chance to remember.
“It’s also nice to know that the remembrance tree will stay in Brooke Park. I walk here everyday so it’ll be a nice reminder.”