THE people of Chepstow rounded off their tenth-anniversary Apple Day festivities with a warm ceremony to remember a popular local man who died suddenly last year.

Karl Daymond was a well-loved opera singer who died, aged 52, in August 2017.

Mr Daymond worked tirelessly with local musical groups and was a passionate supporter of Chepstow and District Mencap, and members of those organisations were among the crowd at a well-attended tree-planting ceremony in two of the town's parks on Sunday, October 28.

Led by Chepstow Singing Club member Dr Glyn Jones, the attendees helped plant two young apple trees which had come from Mr Daymond's Earlswood home.

One tree was planted in the small orchard next to Chepstow Castle, where Mr Daymond enjoyed walking his dog, and the other was planted near the town's bandstand.

"Karl was a big community man," Dr Jones said. "Nothing was too much trouble."

Plaques dedicating the trees to Mr Daymond were unveiled by two members of Chepstow Mencap. The group had also prepared a special poem as a tribute to Mr Daymond.

The dedication ceremony was followed each time by a minute's applause and an uplifting rendition of Bring Me Sunshine and I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.

Tying into the town's Apple Day celebrations, the group blessed the trees with a special Wassail ceremony – a medieval celebration of a cider-like drink – led by Wassail butler, Jeremy Becker.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Daymond's husband, Ian MacNeil, thanked the organisers and attendees.

"The mark of Karl is that these kinds of things go on," he said.

Speaking about the town's singing club, to which Mr Daymond was central, he said: "These things still make people happy every week and are a real tribute to him."

Pauline Jenkins has continued Mr Daymond's work providing singing sessions for Chepstow Mencap. She said the group's success was because "the magic of Karl made it all happen".

"We see him every day," she added. "This tribute is just amazing."