I would like to publicly thank every party represented on Belfast City Council for giving their support to my idea that council should plant an avenue of trees to mark Her Majesty The Queen becoming the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom.
Councillors from all parties have supported my idea at the relevant committee and I am delighted that we achieved agreement on this fitting tribute with any disagreement or acrimony whatever.
All that remains is for ratification of the committee decision at the monthly council meeting.
Throughout her long reign The Queen has acted as a remarkable ambassador for our country. She is one of the most well-known and well-loved people in the world.
At all times, Her Majesty has carried out her duties with a dignity and style that bring upon her and our country very great credit.
My initial preference was that the avenue consisting of 63 trees: one for each year of her reign, should be in Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, however, given the maturity of that park it is impossible to find a space in it large enough to accommodate such an undertaking.
Council officers have advised me that the best place for this tribute to Her Majesty would be Knocknagoney Park in East Belfast.
So whilst East Belfast’s gain is South Belfast’s loss in a parochial sense, in a wider context it is a tribute from all of the people of Belfast and the location is immaterial.
I hope that this tribute to The Queen can in some small way say thank you for all she has done over more than six decades in public life; that it will improve the amenity of one of our local parks and help toward making Belfast a more aesthetically pleasing place to live is an added bonus.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, DUP, Balmoral