Halesworth in Bloom to mark bicentenary of town hero

Young picture of Joseph Hooker

Young picture of Joseph Hooker - Credit: Halesworth in Bloom

The bicentenary of a Halesworth hero's birth is to be celebrated during the town's in bloom festivities.

Joseph Dalton Hooker was born on June 30, 1817 in Brewery House, now known as Hooker House, in the town.

The son of Sir William, Mr Hooker followed in his father's footsteps to become director at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens in south-west London.

He was a keen explorer visiting Nepal, Tibet and parts of North America and was the naturalist in an Antarctic expedition in the 1840s.

Between Friday, June 30 and Sunday July 2, Halesworth In Bloom will mark his birth with a series of events.

Tamsyn Imison, leader of Halesworth in Bloom said: 'We are determined not to let the bicentenary of Joseph Hooker's birth go unmarked here and we have a focus weekend of events and exhibitions planned.

'He was an amazing scientist, explorer and climber and a very intrepid man.'

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Among the plans to take place to mark the bicentenary include;

• A special new Town Trail booklet on the Hookers

• St Mary's Church Flower Festival on the theme Joseph Hooker 'A Love of Flowers' between June 30 and July 7 30 June – 7 July.

• On Sunday July 2 at 2.30pm at The Cut Arts Centre, in association with Kew, a presentation on Joseph Hooker by Virginia Mills, Kew's Joseph Hooker Project Manager

• Edgar Sewter Primary School children will walk the Hooker Trail around the town prior to researching about him as a local hero

• A Joseph Hooker Walk within the Green Flag Halesworth Town Park

• Accessing sponsorship and other funding to commission a bronze or resin life-size sculpture of Joseph Hooker for the Hooker Arboretum

Mr Hooker was also responsible for developing the landscape of Kew and allowing more public access to the gardens.

He was a close friend of Charles Darwin and collaborated on The Origin of Species. Mr Hooker is quoted as saying that he was the first person to whom Darwin communicated his new ideas on the subject of evolution.

Joseph Hooker died in 1911 and is buried at Kew.

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