Pub­lic urged to get be­hind vote

Strathearn Herald - - FRONT PAGE - Lynn Duke

Strath res­i­dents are be­ing urged to get be­hind a spe­cial spruce and vote for it in Scot­land’s Tree of the Year com­pe­ti­tion.

The now mag­nif­i­cent tree on Aber­cair­ney Es­tate was one of a hand­ful of saplings pulled up from a First World War bat­tle­field by Cri­eff sol­dier David McCabe over a hun­dred years ago.

It is now one of six trees in the run­ning to take the Tree of the Year ti­tle.

Lt McCabe died from his wounds in 1917, and was never able to see the tree grow into ma­tu­rity, but it now stands tall as a per­ma­nent memo­rial at Aber­cairny Es­tate.

It came to the wider pub­lic’s at­ten­tion dur­ing this sum­mer’s Cri­eff Re­mem­bers com­mem­o­ra­tions of WW1.

And to mark the cen­te­nary of the Bat­tle of Pass­chen­daele in 1917, a wreath was also made from the spruce’s cones and taken by a team of cadets cy­cling from Cri­eff to Pass­chen­daele, who laid it on the grave of Lt McCabe in France en route.

The Aber­cair­ney spruce was nom­i­nated by Daniel Parker from Aber­cairny Es­tate and Cri­eff Re­mem­bers or­gan­is­ers Fes­ti­vals Cri­eff. It was the great-grand­fa­ther of Daniel’s wife Anna Mo­ray Parker, who had the fore­sight to plant the sapling on the es­tate and mark its spot with a plaque. Anna told the Her­ald: “The re­mark­able sur­vival of a frag­ile sapling from the bat­tle­field and its trans­for­ma­tion into the 100 year old tree is a pow­er­ful sym­bol of hope. We are proud to be col­lab­o­rat­ing with the McCabe Fam­ily and Cri­eff Re­mem­bers in recog­nis­ing David McCabe and so many of his com­rades who gave their lives for us fight­ing in such ter­ri­ble con­di­tions on the Western Front.”

Jean Ann Scott Miller of Fes­ti­vals Cri­eff de­scribed the news of the tree be­ing short­listed as “fan­tas­tic.” She com­mented: “David McCabe’s story was one of the most poignant fea­tures of the Cri­eff Re­mem­bers pro­gramme, par­tic­u­larly through the young army cy­clists who laid a beau­ti­ful wreath of cones from the tree on his grave in France be­fore tak­ing part in the Pa­rade and Drum­head Ser­vice on July 30.

“It’s a won­der­ful ex­ten­sion of our im­por­tant con­tri­bu­tion to the na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tion of the First World War, and we’re so grate­ful to the McCabe fam­ily and the Aber­cairny Es­tate for en­abling us to tell the story. We do hope that the pub­lic will re­ally get be­hind this nom­i­na­tion, and that the tree will go for­ward to the Euro­pean Tree of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion.”

The tree that wins the com­pe­ti­tion, which aims to cel­e­brate the coun­try’s best trees, will re­ceive a £ 1000 care pack­age, which can cover an ex­pert health check, pro­vide in­ter­pre­ta­tion or ed­u­ca­tional ma­te­ri­als, or go to­wards hold­ing a cel­e­bra­tion in hon­our of the tree.

Beccy Speight, Wood­land Trust’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said: “Once again the pub­lic have nom­i­nated many fan­tas­tic ex­am­ples of trees with truly in­spi­ra­tional sto­ries, which high­light how in­trin­sic trees are in peo­ple’s lives.

“It’s a re­minder of why we need to care for in­di­vid­ual trees and that they still need true pro­tec­tion in law from de­vel­op­ment or mis­man­age­ment.”

The Aber­cair­ney Spruce will need to see off com­pe­ti­tion from The Beauly Sy­camore, The Big Tree in Orkney, The Carnegie Oak in Dun­fermline, The Greenock Cut Oak in In­ver­clyde, and the Old Holly Bush in Aberdeen­shire’s Cas­tle Fraser to take the ti­tle.

Vot­ing for Scot­land’s Tree of the Year opened on Mon­day and will run for a month, with the win­ner be­ing an­nounced in De­cem­ber at the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment in Ed­in­burgh.

● To vote, visit wood­landtrust.org. uk/tree­oftheyear

We do hope that the pub­lic re­ally get be­hind this nom­i­na­tion . . . Jean Ann Scott Miller

Ad­mir­ing The mag­nif­i­cent Aber­cair­ney Spruce

Last­ing re­minder Anna Mo­ray Parker of Aber­cair­ney Es­tate and Jean Ann Scott Miller of Cri­eff Re­mem­bers

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