Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland tree of year rooted in Greek history

By Allan Preston

A tree planted at Belfast City Hospital in the 1960s by a medical student from Greece has been crowned Northern Ireland's tree of the year.

Before achieving worldwide fame for developing a groundbreaking form of kidney dialysis, a young Dr Dimitrios Oreopoulos undertook research at Queen's University and the City Hospital.

In appreciation of his time in Belfast, he donated seeds of an oriental plane tree descended from the famous Greek 'Plane tree of Kos', under which Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, taught in 500 BC.

This week Dr Oreopoulos' son, Dr George Oreopoulos, and grandson Dimitrios gathered at the winning tree outside Erskine House.

George said his father's gift was a "symbolic gesture of thanks from a young Greek doctor who was grateful for an opportunity", adding that he hoped his own son would learn how even small gestures of thanks "can grow into something great long after you're gone".

Organised by the Woodland Trust, the competition saw six trees compete for the top prize, with the winner taking 1,732 votes.

Belfast Telegraph

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