A living thank you to he­roes ofWWI

Tameside Advertiser - - MANCHESTER MATTERS -

T was the war to end all wars, dec­i­mat­ing en­tire fam­i­lies. But now a lead­ing con­ser­va­tion char­ity has found a way to turn the heart­break of the First World War into hope for the fu­ture.

The Wood­land Trust, which cham­pi­ons na­tive­woods and trees and owns over 1,000 sites across theUK, has em­barked upon an am­bi­tious £20m project to re­mem­ber those who died fight­ing for their­coun­try­dur­ing WWI. And with the Cen­te­nary of the fate­ful Gal­lipoli Cam­paign this week­end, there has never been a more fit­ting time to hon­our the lives of those who gave so much to en­sure our free­dom, both at home and abroad.

The char­ity’s Cen­te­nary Woods scheme, which is sup­ported by sains­bury’s, will see four flag­ship sites cre­ated – one in Eng­land, scot­land, Wales and North­ern Ire­land – of­fer­ing a unique place to re­flect upon each coun­try’s he­roes, with trees planted in mem­ory of those who played a part in the war.

Those who lost fam­ily mem­bers have al­ready hailed the move a fit­ting trib­ute to the sol­diers who died try­ing to se­cure a brighter fu­ture and their fam­i­lies who al­so­made sac­ri­fices.

David Ap­ple­ton’s four great un­cles – Ge­orge syd­ney James, Charles Ed­ward James, Henry James and Frances Arthur James – were all killed within 15 months of each other dur­ing WWI. Aged be­tween 22 and 31, their deaths dev­as­tated their fam­ily, in par­tic­u­lar their sis­ter, Phylis.

David, 53, says: “Grow­ing up, I was al­ways aware that thedeathofmy un­cles had dev­as­tated the fam­ily, and thatmy grand­mother – their sis­ter – had never re­cov­ered fromher loss. shewent on to serve as a nurse in a hos­pi­tal for the badly wounded, walk­ing 10 miles toand from work ev­ery day.”

The Wood­land Trust sup­porter had al­ready planted four black po­plars on his farm as a trib­ute to the broth­ers, sowhen­helearnt of the plans for Cen­te­naryWoods, he was keen to plant four trees in their mem­ory. Af­terhe made en­quiries, David at­tended the in­au­gu­ral tree plant­ing at the 640- acre English site in Ep­som, sur­rey.

“I couldn’t imag­ine a more ap­pro­pri­ate and f i t t i n g means of com­mem­o­ra­tion thanthe Cen­te­nary Woods,” he says. “A wood is the op­po­si­te­ofwar, abeau­ti­ful, peace­ful oa­sis of calm and life. Now the im­por­tance of our his­tory has been passed on to my son and daugh­ter.”

Beccy speight, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of the Wood­land Trust said: “All those who made sac­ri­fices in the First World War did so in the hope of se­cur­ing a brighter fu­ture for the next gen­er­a­tion. Over the next three years, we’ll be ask­ing peo­ple to ded­i­cate a tree to their an­ces­tors in one of the Cen­te­nary Woods, in or­der to cre­ate thou­sands of acres of wood­land as a per­ma­nent le­gacy to the war.”

For £20 the Trust can ded­i­cate a sin­gle tree, which­will be­come part of a for­est.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.