It’s always a proud time when any business you are involved with begins to grow, the hard work and effort of the founders and managers, who really, this update is about. The team at the Forest of Memories are building something incredible, and we are so delighted to be a part of it. We are delighted to share with you the latest update on the first trees in the ground, at the Runnymede Forest of Memories.
The Forest of Memories Begins To Grow
On Tuesday 7th of December, with support of the National Trust Runnymede, The Forest of Memories began to plant trees in remembrance of the hundreds of thousands of families who lost loved ones during the pandemic. Each sapling represents not only a forgotten soul but will help heal those people who were left behind, unable to say goodbye and properly grieve together.
These Memory Trees will be symbol to reflect on the time of Covid-19, give thanks to the millions of people who supported us at this difficult time and for those who continue to work tirelessly to ensure that people are safe and cared for.
With help of numerous local authorities, conservations groups and of course the support of National Trust Runnymede our aim is simple, to plant over 166,730 trees right across the country for each and every person taken by the virus so that there is a natural place of reflection close to them, somewhere where they can celebrate and learn of those lives no longer with us.
The Forest of Memories has built an archive platform that allows people to not only dedicate a Memory Tree for a special person but share stories, prayers and memories, to come together at a digital space that, with augmented reality will link to that physical tree that will be there for generations.
In creating this unique experience it is expected that people will enjoy those green spaces, to start to recover from the difficulties of the recent past and interact with the space, to listen, read and watch those stories and to breathe new life again.
These trees planted don’t just symbolise remembrance, they represent the growing partnership with the National Trust Runnymede and proud inclusion on their exciting Runnymede Explored Project. The Forest of Memories with their complete support have run a number of successful projects, from tying thousands of personalised yellow ribbons, to holding a minutes silence for The National Day of Reflection, they have also co-hosted an event on Runnymede fields to offer a save space for families and friends to come together, to have a picnic, to talk to friends and reflect.
These first trees will find home in a groves that is overlooked by the Air Forces Memorial, nestled in the ancient woodland near the path of a well-trodden route through the estate. For those visiting the Runnymede, they will be able to walk through a variety of ancient trees that make up the Coopers Hill memorial forest, through trees that are hundreds of years old and protected by amazing National Trust staff and volunteers, so it is beautifully fitting that these trees with such significance will grow and thrive here for hundreds of years more.
The day itself will bought together a small number of families who have supported The Forest of Memories, to this point, allowing them to plant their dedicated Memory tree for their loved one and share their experience of loss and how they have coped with grieving during isolation and through the pandemic.
The Forest of Memories was also joined by local dignitaries including pipers from The Royal British Legion, to join in reflections with families and friends of those who have passed. Whilst this was a momentous occasion for The Forest of Memories, it was important to allow the space and community for those who have lost loved ones to remember and reflect.
As part of The Forest of Memories journey they are proud to be supporting the important work that National Trust Runnymede is undertaking to preserve our heritage and the nature that surrounds us.
At the historically important landscape of Runnymede and Ankerwycke, together volunteers from both groups will assist in the replanting of trees that will have to be felled because of the Ash-dieback disease, which is a beautifully symbolic gesture of giving a life for a life.
Many will know about or have heard about Ash dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) and the National Trust is working extremely hard with the Forestry Research across all the estates throughout the UK to monitor and plan directives that do not simply fell trees but work on identifying ancient species that might have a generic disposition to fight the fungus or the disease.
We will be planting many more trees, over many more locations in the coming weeks and months, but this signifies a huge leap forward for the Forest of Memories and opportunity for us all, to heal, as a nation.
For more information on The Forest of Memories, visit www.theforestofmemories.com and find The Forest of Memories on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.