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Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy extended by 50,000 trees

Fifty thousand trees will be winging their way across the UK next week to form part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a network of global forest conservation initiatives to mark Her Majesty's lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

They will be planted by 10,000 members of the public who snapped them up in a matter of minutes in a free tree giveaway made possible by a partnership between the Woodland Trust, Sainsbury’s and ITV. 

The giveaway was in support of a landmark documentary, The Queen's Green Planet, screened on ITV in April. It followed Her Majesty the Queen and the ambitious QCC legacy project which brings together her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her love of trees.  At the heart of the film by ITN Productions was a conversation between the Queen and Sir David Attenborough filmed in the gardens of Buckingham Palace last summer.  

Each specially-labelled tree pack, going out on Monday 15 October, will contain five UK-sourced and grown native broadleaf trees – two silver birch, two rowan, and a hazel – for ITV viewers to plant as their own contribution to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.

Among those who applied for the trees during giveaways on Good Morning Britain and This Morning are schools, charities, care homes and individuals planting for personal reasons.

Commemorative packs will arrive in mid October (Photo: WTML)
Commemorative packs will arrive in mid October (Photo: WTML)

Woodland Trust chief executive, Beccy Speight, who will be planting the first of the giveaway trees with Sainsbury’s colleagues at the charity’s Grantham headquarters on Tuesday, 16 October, said:

 “We were thrilled when the packs were snapped up so quickly by ITV viewers. It’s testament to the high regard in which people hold both Her Majesty and trees. We’ve loved hearing the reasons people want to be part of this project and are honoured to be playing our part in extending the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

“Trees do so much for us. They improve soil health and water quality, reduce carbon, slow the flow of flood water, trap pollutants, shelter livestock, provide a home for wildlife and a space for us to breathe and reflect. I hope those who will be planting them next week will enjoy watching them flourish as part of this wonderful legacy initiative.”

Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Coupe said:

“As the Woodland Trust’s largest corporate partner, we’re committed to raising awareness of the importance of the UK’s woods and trees, and contributing to their conservation.

I was lucky enough to grow up surrounded by woods, so trees have a particular resonance with me. Sainsbury’s recently planted its three millionth tree with the Trust, and the thought of getting another 50,000 in the ground as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy is an exciting prospect.”

ITV controller of factual, Jo Clinton Davis said:

“ITV is proud and privileged to have commissioned this remarkable documentary that now has this unique and continuing legacy. We are thrilled that thanks to this exciting collaboration with our partners, our viewers have been given the opportunity to be part of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy."

Among those receiving trees will be Amelia Kirwan, who, with her family, will be planting in memory of her cousin Reagan Asbury.

It is perhaps fitting that the trees are being posted out on the first anniversary of his death. Reagan, 19, died on 15 October 2017, the day after being stabbed when violence broke out between rival spectators at a boxing match in Walsall.

Reagan’s parents, Helen Kirwan and Julian Asbury, describe their son as “a free spirit, a good soul, who loved life, family and friends.”

Amelia said:

“There are no words I can find to quantify the pain this has caused my family and Reagan’s parents, sisters and girlfriend. His death has left a huge hole in our family and had a massive impact on so many people and the whole community, but despite the negative circumstances surrounding Reagan’s departure from our lives, we want to remember him for the truly special person he was. Therefore one of the QCC trees will be planted in Pelsall Village, where he lived all his life, as a place to reflect and remember him.

“The trees hold special meaning as they are in honour of The Queen and to make the world a better place. We want to watch the trees grow and blossom, as Reagan’s life would have if it wasn’t taken away in such tragic circumstances.”

Children at The Shepherd’s Hut Outdoor Day Nursery near Wendover, Buckinghamshire, will be putting on their wellies and rolling up their sleeves to get their trees in the ground.

Callie Rockell, administration manager, said:

“Our children love getting involved with anything possible. We follow the forest school ethos and spend 80% of our time outside. We only opened the nursery in August so planting these saplings will mark a new beginning for us as well as the trees. I'm sure the children will thoroughly enjoy planting them and watching them grow, especially knowing they form part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.”

MPs across the country are also contributing to the QCC. The Trust, via the Rt Hon Frank Field MP who conceived the QCC initiative, has provided packs to more than 500 politicians to be planted in their constituencies, including the Prime Minister.


Notes to editors

For media queries only, please contact:

Woodland Trust: Dee Smith on 0343 770 5654 or

ITV: Jenny Cummins on 0207 157 3017 or


About The Woodland Trust

The Woodland Trust is the largest woodland conservation charity in the UK. It has over 500,000 supporters. It wants to see a UK rich in native woods and trees for people and wildlife.

The Trust has three key aims:  i) protect ancient woodland which is rare, unique and irreplaceable, ii) restoration of damaged ancient woodland, bringing precious pieces of our natural history back to life, iii) plant native trees and woods with the aim of creating resilient landscapes for people and wildlife.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering over 22,500 hectares. Access to its woods is free.

The Trust’s Wentwood Forest, Wales’ largest ancient woodland, has been accredited under the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) initiative.


About The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC) is a unique network of forest conservation projects which unites the Commonwealth family of nations to save one of the world’s most important natural habitats. Established in the name of Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth, this initiative is committed to raising awareness of the value of established indigenous forests, and saving them for future generations, as well as planting new forest.




About Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury's has supported the Woodland Trust since 2004 with the launch of free range woodland eggs. Since then, donations through product sales have expanded to chicken, turkey, apples and honey.

The partnership has helped the Woodland Trust to plant three million trees, including establishing a special Sainsbury’s wood at The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Wood in Leicestershire.

The partnership has also enabled the Woodland Trust to provide support and advice to Sainsbury’s on tree planting and maintenance to deliver to its farmers across the UK. Most recently, Sainsbury’s is supporting the Woodland Trust’s First World War Centenary Woods project.


About ITV’s documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet

Featuring a unique conversation between The Queen and Sir David Attenborough as they walked in the garden at Buckingham Palace last summer, the landmark documentary explored the ambition of a remarkable new initiative – a vast network of native forests across Britain and the Commonwealth, protected forever in The Queen's name.

The documentary from ITN Productions followed the progress of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, the conservation project aimed at raising awareness of the value of indigenous forests, and of preserving them for future generations.

At the centre of this landmark documentary was a conversation between Her Majesty The Queen and Sir David Attenborough in which they discussed trees, nature and conservation and the ambition of The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy.

It was watched by 6.4 million viewers, making it ITV’s most watched factual programme of the year.

The documentary was commissioned by ITV head of factual entertainment Sue Murphy and ITV controller of factual Jo Clinton Davis.

The award-winning production team included director Jane Treays and executive producer Chris Shaw, editorial director of ITN Productions.