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Community come together to plant 200 new trees in Newbury

MP and mayor join local businesses and residents to create 'Lockdown Wood' in memory of Covid-19 victims

Community come together to plant 200 new trees in Newbury

NEWBURY MP Laura Farris and mayor Elizabeth O’Keeffe joined residents and members of the businesses community to plant more than 200 saplings in Newbury’s Goldwell Park.

The event was the second part of the Lockdown Woods project, a joint initiative between Newbury Friends of the Earth, Newbury Town Council and West Berkshire Council which will see 1,800 trees planted across the district.

The saplings, as well as improving the environment and making West Berkshire a greener place to be, will also serve as living memorials to those who have lost their lives as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, December 11, local businesses, including The Navigator Company (pictured below) – which have recently moved to Newbury from Surrey – Sovereign Housing association and the Newbury and Thatcham Green Gym all got involved.

The teams helped to lay out the site and plant half of the saplings, which were all donated by The Woodland Trust.

This was followed, on the Saturday, by a public, community tree planting day where Mrs Farris joined town councillors, Friends of the Earth members and local residents to plant the remaining 100.

Mrs Farris, who planted several young hazel trees, said: “There’s a clue in the name – Lockdown Wood is an emblem of all we have been through in this unprecedented time of closing our entire lives down because of Covid.

“These tiny saplings will develop over time and enable us to honour and commemorate the people who have died because of coronavirus.”

Newbury mayor Elizabeth O’Keefe (pictured below), who planted some silver birch saplings, said: “I am delighted to have been invited to do some planting for Lockdown Woods.

“It is an amazing initiative and we are really delighted to be doing it here in Newbury.”

Newbury Friends of the Earth member Dr Susan Millington, (pictured below with the team) who founded the Lockdown Woods project, said: ‘We are so grateful to staff from Sovereign Housing Association, the Navigator Company, and the voluntary group Newbury and Thatcham Green Gym for helping us to lay out the site and get the first trees in the ground.

“We were guided by West Berkshire Council’s wonderful tree officers Andrew Giles and Jon Gurr to create a layout of trees which should ensure attractive vistas from all over the park and surrounding area.

“Together with HEAT and West Berkshire Climate Action Network, we are planting over 1800 saplings in West Berkshire in community events this winter.

“This is a wonderful way to beautify our district and create a healthy future for our planet.”

The Navigator Company UK and Ireland general manager Ashley Miller said: “It was a fabulous day spent digging and planting.

“Planting trees is very much in our DNA. Every year, alone we plant 24 million saplings.

“It was a brilliant opportunity to get involved in something that is both very important to us, and we’d like to thank Newbury Friends of the Earth and Newbury Town Council for giving us that chance.

“We look forward to seeing these young saplings grow, for generations to come.”

The first Lockdown Woods planting took place in Hungerford and the third and final woodland will be created in Barn Crescent, Wash Common early in the new year.

Volunteers will be planting 70 Woodland Trust saplings on Saturday, January 9, and 14 fruit trees on Sunday, January 23, to extend the community orchard in the field.

These planting dates are both community events.

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