The branch president of the Hermanus Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Adam Spires, gathered his family, church members and four missionaries together to meet up at the Hermanus Cemetery on Saturday morning with Melanie Moore and other volunteers who have been working since 2017 to beautify this once-forlorn and badly neglected public space.

The group spent the morning gardening and planting, and also painted the crosses that had been procured and erected on the unmarked graves through a project driven by Melanie. They also planted a Coastal Silver Oak tree on the northern border of the cemetery – the 43rd tree to be planted since the beginning of Melanie’s initiative, and with the assistance of the Overstrand Municipality’s horticultural department. “It’s important to remember those who have passed and with this small act we hope to pay homage to their memory,” said Adam.

At the back, from left are Jessica and Adam Spires, Melanie Moore with the Spires’ daughter Anna in front of her, Geoff Spires with Gibson Kadango in front of him and young Elijah Spires behind him, Fortunate Mhlala with baby Liam, Bobby de Villiers behind them, Winston and Barbara Mackinnon, with Kirsty McDowell behind them. In front are the missionaries, Elder Siems and Elder Mwachoweka, both from Johannesburg, Elder Bramedeo from Guyana and Elder Sumalpong from the Philippines. Between the latter two are Asher Spires and Khaya Mhlala. The missionaries have been stranded here since the lockdown and are looking forward to returning home next month.

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