Cherise and Gage Roberge scattered their father’s ashes into the soil surrounding his memorial tree at Dale Ball park in Langley on Arbour day. The maple tree for Denis Roberge was one of several planted as living memorials to those who have passed. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

Trees planted to remember the departed at Langley Arbour Day event

Seventeen people who made contributions to the community recognized for their efforts

Denis Roberge loved the outdoors.

So when it came time to plant a tree in his memory on Arbour Day, his family decided to add his ashes to the ground around the roots of the new Norwegian Maple standing in Dale Ball park.

His son, Gage, said the type of tree was appropriate.

“My dad wanted to go out like a Viking,” Gage said.

Gage poured his father’s ashes around the roots, then he and his sister Cherise used shovels to cover the roots with soil while their mother Janet watched.

“This is really cool,” Janet said.

Janet said her husband, who died recently at the age of 67 after retiring from a career with B.C. Ferries, never stopped growing as a person.

“He was flying like an eagle and now his roots are in the ground,” she said.

On Sunday, trees were planted in the memory of Roberge and 16 other people.

Mayor Jack Froese said they were all people who “have made a lasting impression on our community through their generosity and contributions. “

Roberge was cited for his volunteer work.

The other honorees included:

Bob Anderlini – pioneer

Dr. Fred Ceresney – physician and veteran

Beverly Anne Clay – horticulture enthusiast and volunteer

David Coppin – volunteer and Township of Langley employee

Steve Dreise – volunteer

John Jones – volunteer and sports advocate

Lynda Jongs – volunteer

Bob Lynch – generational farmer and Township of Langley employee

William (Bill) Marr – pioneer

Cora Mufford – pioneer

Don Mufford – pioneer

Trevor Mufford – member of pioneering Mufford family

Joy Richardson – equestrian enthusiast

Norman Severide – pioneer and veteran

Erik Simonsen – volunteer

David Truman – volunteer

READ MORE: Dead trees felled in Langley park ahead of Arbour Day

Community Arbour Day is an annual tradition that celebrates trees and the importance of the urban forest.

Now in its 17th year, the free, family-friendly event is held at a different park every year in the Township.

Visitors to Dale Ball were able to experience the many ways trees contribute to the well-being of the community, with interactive displays and activities, arts and crafts, community planting and rope climbing.

Bags of compost were available for visitors to take home and use in their own gardens.

Mayor Froese noted Langley has more than 100 parks and green spaces.

“Arbour Day has become an important tradition in our community and it is wonderful to see people coming out year after year to enjoy it,” Froese added.

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Seven-year-old Nebi Collemine of Langley tried his hand at rappelling up a tree at the Arbour Day festivities in Dale Ball park on the weekend. Dan Ferguson Langley Advance Times

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