Thirty peace seeds originating from 'A-bombed' gingko trees in the Japanese city of Hiroshima are set to take root in South Ayrshire after the seeds were donated by Mayors for Peace.
The international organisation – established in 1982 – brings together cities and places dedicated to the promotion of peace. It was created by the then Mayor of Hiroshima in response to the deaths of around 140,000 people due to the atomic bombing of the city on 6 August 1945 – three months before the end of the Second World War.
While the bombing reduced the city to ashes, trees that had been devastated by the bomb sprouted buds again from their burnt trunks, and became a symbol of hope and courage for the city and the country.
Seeds from the A-bombed trees have been donated to a number of countries and locations, allowing the spirit, hope and courage that stemmed from Hiroshima at such a dreadful time to be spread across the world.
South Ayrshire's 30 peace seeds have now been planted by volunteers at Belleisle Conservatory and will be looked after there, over the next two years, until the saplings are ready to be planted in the ground.
South Ayrshire Provost Helen Moonie was joined by the Consul-General of Japan, Daisuke Matsunaga, to mark the handover and planting of these remarkable seeds.
Consul-General Matsunaga, said: "I highly appreciate the initiative of Mayors for Peace. I truly believe in the power of prayer. If people wishing for peace get together and send out their sincere wishes to the world and the universe, it will surely help us achieve peace. May the ginkgo seeds grow up to be a symbol of this admirable aspiration."
Provost Moonie added: "We're proud and privileged to receive this very generous gift from Mayors for Peace, and it was a true honour to be joined by the Consul-General of Japan to mark the planting of these seeds, which travelled almost 6,000 miles to make the journey from Hiroshima to Ayr.
"It's very humbling to think that the seeds – which originated from the horrors of one of the most devastating events in world history – will grow into truly impressive symbols of peace for all to see.
"The seeds – and the trees they will become – will create a lasting link between South Ayrshire and Japan, and I hope they will grow just like the friendship between us.
"Under the care and nurture of the volunteers from Belleisle Conservatory, there really couldn't be a better place for them to call home and grow into strong and symbolic examples of the peace we want for all peoples of the world."
Matsui Kazumi, President of Mayors for Peace and Mayor of Hiroshima, said: "We hope from the bottom of our hearts that these seeds – which will grow into second-generation A-bombed trees – will be raised carefully, and that, with the love of many citizens, they will come to serve as a symbol of peace."
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