September 28th, 2016

Tree tribute to Great War dead

Updated: 10:08 am, May 07, 2015

A SPECIAL tribute has been planted to those who fought and died in The Great War.

Children from Tenacres First and The Vaynor First Schools helped plant an Oak tree in the Garden of Remembrance next to Plymouth Road Cemetery on Tuesday (October 21) as part of the town’s commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

A plaque marking the occasion has also been installed in front of the tree as well as a memorial bench with design featuring a poppy and soldiers venturing out into no man’s land.

Pupils in Year 3 across the borough were given a list of trees and asked to explain in 100 words or less which one they thought would be most fitting to plant as a living memorial.

The winning entries came from Keira Browne from Tenacres First School and Joe Williams from The Vaynor First School who both felt Oak would be most appropriate. Their winning entries were read out as part of Tuesday’s ceremony which was also attended by members of the Redditch and Astwood Bank Royal British Legion branches and the Redditch branch of the Parachute Regimental Association.

Children also took part in reciting the Ode of Remembrance and crosses were planted at the base of the tree.

Council leader Bill Hartnett told the crowd: “This is an historic day in Redditch and we can say we were here to mark this very important occasion.

“We must remember and ensure we do not have any more World Wars ever again, we must all live in peace and harmony.”

He added: “The people of Redditch played their part and suffered losses so we could live in freedom. It is important to teach the young people of today of the sacrifices made by local people, so I think the school involvement in this project is fantastic. Lest we forget.”

Mayor Pat Witherspoon said: “We must remember the men and women who died so we could be free here today.”

The winning entries:

The Oak Tree, by Keira Browne, Tenacres First School

When an Oak tree falls it’s like blood dripping from a soldier’s wound, it also stretches out its branches to protect us. The Oak tree’s roots go deep into the ground like the trenches in which the soldiers slept.

The Oak tree has lots of leaves for the soldiers to shelter in. When a great Oak tree dies and rots inside it would be a good place to hide. It is strong and brave just like the soldiers who fought in the war.

Letter to Ian Gregory, bereavement services manager Redditch Borough Council from Joe Williams, The Vaynor First School

I think your idea was a great idea to plant a tree to remind us of World War I. It think it is a fantastic idea because I love trees and think it would be an amazing reminder of all those who protected our country. I think the Oak tree will be the best and most of my class do too. These are my reasons:

Firstly, the tree produces Acorns which will attract lots of animals. As a result of this animals will attract lots of people to look at them and then they will look at the tree. Also piegons used to carry messages during World War I so it is a good reminder. Don’t you agree?

In addition, the Oak tree is a very strong tree. Because it is so strong it was used during World War I to make things. This is another reason for why it should be chosen I think.

Finally, the Oak is a better choice than the other trees such as Holly. Surely Holly is too spikey and might hurt children and this would be awful. Also, it is more to do with Christmas.

I highly recommend you plant an Oak tree because it is the best one. I hope that I have made you think that the Oak tree is best for you to plant.

Joe Williams and Keira Browne, both eight, with council leader Bill Hartnett, Mayor Pat Witherspoon, Ron Gurden, president of Astwood Bank RBL, Sheila Boyd, Redditch RBL standard bearer and Peter Styler, president of Redditch RBL. Picture by Marcus Mingins 4314021MMR2