Illuminated memorial erected at Langley golf club

A lighted Christmas tree, visible from the road, pays tribute to the founder of The Redwoods Golf Course.

A 21-foot Christmas tree garlanded with almost 10,000 lights has been erected near the entrance to Redwoods clubhouse, not as a fundraiser but as a memorial to the golf course’s founder.

Calling it The Redwoods Tree of Hope, this is something full of holiday spirit, intended to brighten up the long, dark winter days ahead, said creator Doug Hawley.

As managing director of the golf course, Hawley had a long history with the golf course’s founder, Larry Hope, who died earlier this spring.

“Larry was always very active in the community and I think that he would be proud of it,” Hawley said, explaining that he’s known Hope most of his life – first as this community-minded businessman who owned the sawmill in Burns Lake, where Hawley grew up, and later as his father-in-law and mentor.

“I wanted to build something in honour of Larry that the whole community could enjoy,” Hawley elaborated. “I wanted to build a tree… and Larry would have loved it.”

With a concept in mind, Hawley teamed up with Rick Spink from DC Welding back in early October to begin designing and building the unique aluminum frame (12 feet at the base and incorporating five rings to facilitate the light strings) that is the backbone of the Christmas tree.

“When Doug first approached me with the initial concept of this tree, I thought he was crazy,” Spink said.

“But as we began developing the design and it started coming to life, I became more and more excited to be a part of this project.”

Since October, it has taken more than 150 hours to design and build.

“When you’re out there, in the November rain, getting drenched,” Hawley admitted to questioning the move.

But standing back and watching as it was lit up for the first time, Hawley said it was all worth it.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It came together very well. I love it. Honestly, it came together better than I could have expected.

It was worth every hour spent standing in the rain, and it was worth the close to $10,000 spent building it, Hawley said.

Now, the questions is will there be more.

“It’s a little different, and the public seems to like it,” he said, noting that he’s received positive comments from guests, as well as on Facebook, confirmed he did the right thing.

The Tree of Hope sits near a little garden, with a gazebo and plaque honouring Hope. Hope helped build the course with Hawley more than 20 years ago.

All 9,730 of its LED mini lights were first illuminated Monday (Nov. 21), and will remain lit every evening until the new year.

Erecting this tree for Redwood patrons and passersby to enjoy will become an annual tradition, Hawley said.

Moving forward, he predicts it will take about two days to take down and about three days to put up each November. But all the effort is worth it, he said. It’s a “fitting tribute” to the man whom the Tree of Hope is designed to honour.

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