A green-fingered couple are ‘literally and figuratively putting down roots’ in Bermondsey after proposing to each other beneath a tree they adopted in Southwark Park.
Emily Collins and Gemma Ellis got engaged last week as they became the first people to take part in the council’s upcoming ‘Adopt a Tree’ scheme, which sees participants plant and care for a tree.
Emily said: “I’ve been thinking about proposing for a long time, but then realised that everything we do, we do together. So I talked to her about it and we planned a special joint engagement.
“Gemma had the idea and I helped sort it out. That’s a nice example of our relationship: Gemma comes up with ideas and I make them happen!”
The pair contacted the council, who allowed them to take part in the scheme before its official launch later this year due to the special romantic circumstances.
They planted the tree and then returned soon after to propose to each other. They celebrated with a champagne picnic in glorious sunshine.
Emily said: “We’re both environmentally-minded and adore the park – it’s been a big part of our life since we moved nearby. The park is just around the corner from our house and we think it is beautiful. It’s a great place to go for a walk, or have a picnic.”
While the pair moved from Oxfordshire last year, Emily’s father came from Bermondsey, and she hopes the tree will be a big part of the next chapter in her family’s life in the area.
She said: “The tree is going to grow as our relationship does. I love the idea of having kids one day and bringing them to water it and see it, and to watch it grow together.”
Cllr Barrie Hargrove, Southwark Council cabinet member for parks, leisure and public health, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to the happy couple on their engagement and wish them every happiness for the future. I am very pleased that the council was able to help make this memorable moment happen the way they hoped and that the very first tree adopted as part of our new Adopt a Tree project will have such wonderful story connected to it. I am looking forward to the official launch of the scheme soon and hope that many more of our trees will become part of our residents’ lives in this way.”