On Saturday 22nd of May, about 30 people gathered in Westbrook Down, Hungerford, to
dedicate our first Lockdown Wood as a memorial to the losses of the coronavirus
pandemic, and to the hope for a brighter future for us all.
Photos by Lucie Robinson
In December 2020, Newbury Friends of the Earth joined forces with Hungerford Environment Action Team (HEAT) and St Lawrence’s Church to plant 1,000 young trees in a community event at the Westbrook Down site. Since then, our saplings are still growing strong and now over half a year later we were able to dedicate the new woodland.
The event began with a minute’s silence in memory of those who have passed away during
the COVID-19 crisis, followed by live music from Ron and Rosie
(‘Strings Attached’) and poetry from Hungerford schoolchildren. It finished with speeches and
a final circle of everyone touching elbows, which was covid-safe and
generated some delight! Please head over to Penny Post for a fantastic video coverage of the event.
Our fantastic project co-ordinator and dedicated Newbury Friends of the Earth member, Dr Susan Millington, said
“We are gathered here to mourn and also to celebrate:
To mourn family and friends who tragically died during the COVID-19 pandemic; to mourn those now living with long COVID, mental or financial problems from lockdown; to mourn for the difficulties of our young people, struggling with lack of vital schooling or jobs. But also to celebrate:
The power of community to come together to support each other in difficult times; the power of community to plant woodlands to help the healing of our souls and the planet; the coming together of groups to plant our three memorial Lockdown Woods, so people can plant trees to remember loved ones, and have beautiful natural places to visit for reflection and healing."
Helen Simpson, Mayor of Hungerford said ‘Your efforts have resulted in a brand new
woodland which generations will now enjoy. Not only will these trees remove carbon
from our atmosphere, they will support natural habitats and wildlife that live within
them. As these trees grow and mature they will become a beautiful place to relax
and explore, becoming a living memorial for years to come’.
Helen Cukier, Chair of Hungerford Environment Action Team commented ‘This has
been a fantastic partnership, coming together as a community, all with the same
goal. We are very grateful to Hungerford Town Manor for being able to plant on
this piece of land. It has been great to get the primary school involved, so thanks for
that fantastic banner and to the children for writing that lovely poem, which brought a
tear to my eye’.
See pictures below for Hungerford Primary School's amazing banner as well as the inspiring young poets. Piper Turner (10) and Austin Pugh (11) read a poem created by Piper and her friend Alice Green (11). Spencer Cukier (8) read the poignant poem ‘Leisure’ by W H