Monday 16 February 2015

A Nicaraguan Liquidambar tree is set to be planted in Sheffield’s South Street Park on Monday, 23 February to mark three decades of the city’s twinning with Estelí, in northern Nicaragua.

Tim Shortland, community forestry manager at Sheffield City Council, said: “”The Community Forestry team are pleased to be involved in the planting. It is wonderful that we can mark this 30 year milestone with a Nicaraguan tree.

“As the tree develops it will characterise Sheffield’s living and growing relationship with Esteli. The tree we will be planting is a Liquidambar, also known as a ‘Sweet Gum’ tree. It has corky bark, maple shaped leaves and amazing autumn colour.

“The planting location at an entrance to South Street Park will overlook the city centre and add to a marvellously diverse tree design envisaged for the park.”

Over the past 30 years, the people of Sheffield have collaborated with people in Estelí on a wide range of projects and initiatives. This has included reconstruction and rebuilding after Hurricane Mitch devastated parts of Estelí in the 1990s, support to extend specialist prenatal care facilities for vulnerable women from rural and isolated communities around Estelí and the promotion of children’s rights through an international child citizenship project.

In August 2014 a delegation of Sheffield people travelled to Estelí and, in addition, more than 10 years ago, students from the University of Sheffield initiated their own link with a university there.

Next Monday, to mark the start of Estelí Week which runs until Saturday 28 February, a commemorative tree planting will take place, organised by the Sheffield-Estelí Society and the Community Forestry Team from Sheffield City Council.

Councillor Peter Rippon, the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, will be in attendance along with the Charge d’Affairs of the Nicaraguan Embassy in London. In addition, representatives from Ciudades Hermanas (Twin Towns) and Eco Es (Ecological Estelí) will be planting a tree simultaneously in Nicaragua.

Coralie Hopwood from the Sheffield Estelí Society added: “This planting is a fitting and long lasting tribute to the friendship that has been nurtured between our two towns for the last 30 years.

“We will be embedding the roots of this tree, so that it can carry on growing and bearing fruit for many years to come.”

Numerous events take place each year to mark Sheffield’s twinning with Esteli.

Ms Hopwood added: “Freedom Road in Walkley has its own twinning with a barrio of Estelí called Santo Domingo and over the past few years they have played host to visitors including a young Nicaraguan student who spent an afternoon learning to make pancakes for Shrove Tuesday.

“Sheffield has also hosted visits from producers and farmers from the countryside around Estelí who have enjoyed time with Wortley Walled Garden, Heeley City Farm and others.

“A number of smaller twinning initiatives take place throughout each year connecting specific groups, and the Sheffield-Estelí Society organises a yearly bike ride through the Peak District to raise much-needed funds to continue supporting our linking activities.

“Since 2013 our city twinning group and student group Students for Estelí have organised a week to celebrate the twinning and promote the various activities groups both here and in Estelí are currently involved in.

“This tree planting event is an important part of that, and I hope members of the public will come along to see this historic occasion and learn more about our friends in Nicaragua.”