7:30 a.m., Oct. 2)
Lions Remembrance Forest a sea of tranquility
By Fred Sherwin
Russell Road, just east of Bearbrook, there is a farm
that caters to mentally and physically challenged adults
in a rural agrarian setting.
next to the farm is the Lions Memorial Forest. Dedicated
just last year, the forest contains trees planted in memory
of deceased Lions Club members, members and friends of
ICSS which provided the land for the forest, or persons
sponsored by local Lions Clubs like Hannah Billings from
Navan, who passed away from cancer in 2007 at the age
left to right) Olivia Billings, Ali Billings, Meghen
Billings and Brian Billings sit on a bench dedicated
to Hannah Billings who passed away in 2009 after a
lengthy battle with cancer. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Hannah Billings Fund was created by the Navan Lions Club
shortly after her passing in partnership with her parents
Ali and Brian. The Fund is used to help sick children
and their families deal with the consequences of serious
childhood illness or disability.
Billings were in attendance for this year’s Lions Memorial
Forest dedication ceremony in honour of the 12 additional
trees that have been planted this year.
tree is a Boomerang Lilac and it is located next to the
gazebo in the centre of the forest. (The forest is only
a forest in the purest definition of the word. All of
the trees are mere saplings at this point.)
next to the tree is a bench donated by members of Brian’s
men’s hockey team, the Canterbury Rusty Blades, and the
Navan Lions Club.
the Billings first saw the tree and the bright blue bench,
Ali was overwhelmed.
so beautiful, and the bench is blue, Hannah would have
loved it,” Ali said as she tried to describe her emotions.
“I’m lost for words because literally it is beautiful.
It’s a beautiful space for us to come. It’s so peaceful.
I’m overwhelmed. I really am overwhelmed. And I know we
will come here often and sit on a bench with Hannah’s
name on it. She would have absolutely loved it.”
Memorial Forest is located on land owned by Innovative
Community Support Services (ICSS) which has been operating
a group home in Cumberland since 2001 and currently has
residential homes in Navan and Orléans that house more
than 140 adults aged 18 to 70.
bought the hobby farm on Russell Road in 2009 to act as
a base for their Alternative Support Service Program.
2015, they were approached by District 4 of the International
Lions Club about providing space for a memorial forest.
It turned out to be a match made in Heaven.
Depot has become involved more recently, donating materials
for a small bridge and gateway into the forest as well
as marker posts for the individual name plates that accompany
of the public can drop by to walk though the forest anytime.
Families are also welcome to visit with their many animals,
but they should e-mail ahead of time to firstname.lastname@example.org.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
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