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Green Templeton College | Oxford

Solik treeFrom a desire to express emotional support for their fellow 2012-13 GTC student Brendon Solik, whose parents were kidnapped from their home in South Africa and murdered in February 2017, a group of former GTC students approached the College to see if some form of dedication to the Solik family could be made in the gardens. Head Gardener, Michael Pirie, met Georgia Cole, Farzana Dudhwala, Hayley Jones and James Morfopoulos on behalf of their wider community on 28 February and suggested that the distinctive Sequoiadendron giganteum or giant redwood growing in the main garden since the early 1980s might be appropriate.

As Michael explains: "Evergreen trees have long been associated with the remembrance of people significant to us because they appear conspicuously to be always alive. In its native habitat of the Sierra Nevada mountains of California the giant redwood grows to a great age and size. The oldest living example is estimated at over 3,000 years but the species was only introduced into the UK in the 1850s. Many of the trees growing in our garden were planted by or for someone. There are no plaques to announce the fact but their significance is recorded and is held in the memory."

Georgia Cole observes: "While one year at GTC may pass quicker than most would like, it always appears long enough to establish friendships that prove far more enduring. Brendon Solik, and those members of his family who came to visit, were at the centre of a truly magical year for us on Woodstock Road, with his humour, warmth and undeniable charm ultimately unrivalled. We thank Michael and the staff at GTC for allowing us to honour the cherished Solik family, and the passing on of Brendon's parents, Christine and Roger, in a space we all hold so dear, for through it our lives have been greatly enriched by the product of their love."

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