Covid memorial woodland gets underway with group planting project
A variety of trees have been planted to create a Covid memorial woodland for people to reflect on the past two years.
More than 50 trees and shrubs were planted in Newport after a campaign launched by town and borough councillor Peter Scott.
After a successful appeal for volunteers, work on the town's Queen Elizabeth II Covid Memorial Woodland has begun.
On Tuesday, more than 50 trees and shrubs were planted at Strine Park and then on land off Ford Road.
"We had a very good response from volunteers – there were enough people there to be able to do the planting in record time, we finished in an hour and a half in the planting at Strine Park," Councillor Scott said.
"Newport Rotary Lite was there too as I gave them some of the trees to plant for themselves. The whole day went really well, everyone enjoyed being on board.
"The project began lightly last year when we planted a few, but we have to wait for the right season to plant. I also had to wait for the trees as there was a huge amount being brought for the Queen's Green Canopy project.
"In the end on Tuesday we planted 54 trees and shrubs, it went great, and we will be planting a small orchard of 12 fruit trees in the next few months.
"It all goes towards my 1,000 trees to be planted in the next five years aim which we are working towards."
Funding for the project comes from Councillor Scott's own Telford & Wrekin Council Pride Fund – an amount of money allocated to each councillor every year to spend on local projects.
Money was also donated by local institutions, Waitrose and The Shakespeare Inn, to help forward the project.
Councillor Scott received a £500 donation from Waitrose towards the project, and £500 from the Shakespeare Inn's Dalbag Singh Memorial Match Fund.
Raja Singh, landlord, and the team at the Shakespeare Inn raised money for Dalbag Singh with a charity rugby match after he died of Covid.
Families like the Singhs will be able to take advantage of the memorial woodland as a place to reflect and remember loved ones.
Councillor Scott said: "It's a Covid memorial woodland so what I wanted was somewhere people can relax and have a bit of time for reflection. That's what it will be, especially when the bench gets installed.
"A lot of people have lost loved ones or just had difficult times themselves during the past two years," he added. "At some point soon, we will put a bench in the woodland because we wanted it to be somewhere people could go and reflect quietly over people they have lost or just actually reflect on the way Covid affected all our lives.
"I would like it to be thought of as somewhere positive. I've had a universally positive response to it and I hope people will appreciate it when they need it.
"We are losing quite a few trees to developments in town so I wanted to put some back and this is a good way to do that.
"We are on track to reach 1,000 trees in five years with this project which is great. It's something we can do which helps climate change but is also tangible — the trees will be here long after I've gone."
Peter had 15 volunteers join him in planting at Strine Park on Tuesday as well as members of the town's rotary club and he said he can't wait for the trees to bloom.
He added: "It is very much a community project and it's great to see people out and about volunteering for a project which will benefit the community."