In November 2014 I was able to support Featherstone Town Council and four nearby schools in creating the WW1 Centenary Memorial Woodland at Millpond Meadows Featherstone. The talks in school and tree planting phase of the project went really well and the children were able to plant a tree from a Woodland Trust Tree Pack behind a marker for each of the 353 local men who did not return from that conflict. It was followed up in Spring 2015 when children planted British Native Wild Flowers around the site. The plants were grown in our community nursery and now Forget-me-not, Teasel and Ragged Robin are established to enhance the natural diversity and benefit wildlife. The whole project was a great learning experience for all those involved. We attend a service at the site each 11th of the 11th at 11am where one local Councilor told me “The town still mourns the loss of these men. Nearly every family in the area was affected” another said “ I have been a councilor here for 26 years and this has been one of the best things we have ever done”.
The Town Council have been tremendous to work with and have followed up the planting with “The War Horse”. A 28ft tall metal statue of a working horse arrived in May this year and now stands next to and overlooks the young trees. Each winter I inspect the trees and replace any losses and last week I fitted three bench seats so the increased number of visitors have somewhere to sit and reflect on the scene.
I made the original name markers out of timber stakes, painted white with a poppy and laminated label giving each mans details. Soon they will be replaced with a more permanent post made from recycled white plastic and have a plaque and poppy fixed to them.
The two Councilor’s who first contacted me about it are Woodland Trust Members and had seen the Trusts reports on the National Centenary Woodlands and were keen to have their own.
This project is truly at the heart of this community and I am so proud to have been asked to be involved with it. What we do is not just about planting trees!
Roger Parkinson – Volunteer Speaker and Woodland Creation Champion