OAK TREE PLANTED IN QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK TO HONOUR THE MAN BEHIND THE PARKLANDS

A large oak tree was planted in the heart of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in the newly named Hopkins’ Field to commemorate the landscape architect who led the creation of the widely acclaimed parklands.

Family, friends and colleagues from across the landscape, horticulture and regeneration industries attended a memorial event and tree planting to recognise the enormous achievements of John Hopkins, who died suddenly in January this year.

A nine metre tall, 25-year old oak tree was planted alongside what will become a busy public footpath in the north of the park.

The tree was planted by John’s children, Rosie and Jack, and fiancée, Laura, along with Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, Nick Serota, Director of the Tate and former Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) board member and Jo Watkins, past President of the Landscape Institute.

A four-acre riverside grassy meadow sown with Thyme, Daisy, Hawkbit, Red Clover and other nectar-rich species has also been named Hopkins’ Field, in memory of the ODA Parklands and Public Realm Project Sponsor (2007-2011). John Hopkins selected and oversaw the team that designed and delivered the 250 acres of open space that created a vibrant atmosphere during the London 2012 Games.

The parklands are currently being transformed by the Legacy Corporation in line with the vision John Hopkins had of its long-term future. The Park will reopen in stages between summer 2013 and spring 2014.

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation said:

“This oak tree and grassy meadow are fitting ways to remember John’s huge contribution to the creation of this fantastic new park. His vision and expertise ensured the parklands were one of the most loved attractions by many of the visitors to the Park, during the London 2012 Games and will be enjoyed by millions more as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park begins to reopen from this summer.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Director Tate and former ODA Board member, said:

“John Hopkins wanted to reinstate Britain as a world leader in the design and creation of public parks. Through his vision and passion Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has set a new contemporary standard as a modern, sustainable park that meets the needs of both people and wildlife in a changing climate.”

Jo Watkins, past President of the Landscape Institute said:

“I was happy and honoured to call John ‘friend’. He was undoubtedly at the point of becoming one of the finest landscape architects of our generation and yet most of all I shall remember him with great fondness for his love of life, football and good company. The creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is quite simply his most fitting tribute.”

John’s fiancée Laura Adams, who is Executive Director at Shelby Farms Park Conservancy, said:

“John inspired so many with his big-picture approach to urban planning and enlightened practice of landscape architecture. He was always pushing to do what is right and best for people and the environment. That is why a “Global Garden Initiative” is being established to honour John’s considerable accomplishments and to build on John’s legacy by implementing the work that he would have carried out had he lived.”