Trees a tribute to loved ones lost

Narelle Farrell and Nancy De Prada acknowledge their friends who have passed every festival. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Jess Baker

For many Warwick locals, Jumpers and Jazz in July is not only a time of celebration, but also of reflection and remembrance.

A close look at the trees along the town’s main street, each adorned in thoughtfully knitted and crocheted fabric, reveal symbolic meanings and nods to loved ones lost.

Local group, the Saturday Morning Bryson’s Brekky Club, decorates a tree honouring its passed members every festival.

“We were a group of five when we started about 10 years ago,” club member Nancy De Prada said.

“Two people (are) deceased now. There’s little symbols we have on the tree, especially this year, for those two.”

The group of five met years ago whilst working together at Warwick’s John Dee, and were enjoying breakfast at Bryson’s one Saturday morning when they decided they would decorate a tree of their own.

“The first year I think that Jumpers and Jazz was on, or the second one, we went to an event and just had such a good time,“ Nancy said.

“We just decided we’d become part of the mix.“

Nancy said the group threw themselves into decorating their first tree – and they have continued to do so since.

“Although you pull your hair out when it gets close, we really enjoy doing it,” Nancy said.

“Just being part of the community … that’s the reason we do it, to be involved.”

Six years ago, after two members of group passed away and one member moved interstate, only Nancy and Narelle Farrell were left to decorate a tree at festival time in the name of the club.

Narelle said the tradition was “very sentimental”.

“It’s about participation and friendship,” she said.

“There’s a whole different feel about the community around Jumpers and Jazz I think.”

Each year, Nancy and Narelle dress their tree to theme, weaving in handcrafted tributes – an owl and an angel – to the members of their club who have passed.

For the 2021 tree jumper exhibition, Nancy and Narelle were joined by Leanne Newton from Warwick in creating a piece fit to the theme of ’crackers’.

Titled ‘These Mozzies are Driving me Crackers’, this year’s special display is located at the tree in front of the Warwick/Stanthorpe Today office at 94 Palmerin Street.