David Cameron, Prime Minister and MP for Witney, air cadets and representatives from the Trust today planted a First World War commemorative tree at Witney Park to replace one the Witney Royal Air Force Air Cadets planted previously but was subsequently vandalised.
The local Air Cadets group were fundraising to replace the oak tree they planted and after having successfully raised the money, we stepped in and donated a tree to the cadets for the planting.
It also ties in with Witney Air Cadets’ celebration of their 75th anniversary and the Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods Project. Tree planting events help facilitate Cadets getting out into the community, planting trees with people from different communities across the UK.
Our Centenary Woods Project seeks to commemorate the First World War, creating living legacies that can grow and thrive for future generations.
Four large sites will be planted in each country of the UK, 100s of smaller sites created by other landowners, and free tree packs are available for communities and youth groups across the UK. In total the project will see over three million trees planted in honour of those involved in the First World War, with one million trees planted so far.
Mr Cameron said:
"It was a pleasure to meet with the Witney Air Cadets and the Woodland Trust today and to help replant their commemorative tree.
"I know that the vandalism caused real sadness across Witney. We owe so much to those who gave their lives in the First World War - and it is great to see the remembrance oak tree standing proud once more."
Beccy Speight, Woodland Trust Chief Executive, said:
“It’s an honour to have had the Prime Minister planting a tree with us today, the symbol of a brighter future. We are well on our way to creating four beautiful, growing living memorials in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales by 2018, as well as having planted millions more trees and helped to create hundreds of woods, to give thanks to all those who sacrificed so much.
“All those who made sacrifices in the First World War did so in the hope of securing a brighter future for the next generation. In this centenary year, we can’t think of a better way to give thanks for this than creating thousands of acres of life-giving native woodland, as a legacy for the whole of the UK.”
Mike Caffrey, Officer Commanding Witney Air Cadets said:
“Witney Royal Air Force Air Cadets are thrilled to have received this generous donation from the Woodland Trust, and to be joined by our Member of Parliament in planting it today. We hope that it will join the other oaks planted by the community on the 100th anniversary of the end of Great War hostilities, as a lasting memorial to the sacrifice of soldiers and civilians that paid the ultimate price in securing our futures.”
The new woods will create habitats for wildlife to thrive, for people and children to enjoy, will improve communities and will contribute to a healthier planet.