Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea Pensioners plant oak in memorial woodland

By Staff Reporter

A Centenary Wood in the beautiful Faughan Valley was in the spotlight as Chelsea Pensioners Walter Swan and Eddie Reid took part in a poignant tree-planting ceremony.

The Woodland Trust-owned Brackfield Wood, not far from Londonderry, is one of just four flagship woods taking shape across the UK to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War.

Local people and visitors rallied on Saturday to watch the scarlet-coated veterans plant an oak in memory of those who lost lives and loved ones during the war, before making their own tree-planting mark.

Brackfield Wood will be home to 40,000 native trees, with swathes of vibrant wildflowers, including the poppy.

The conservation charity aims to create a beautiful, living focal point of remembrance, and a place in which wildlife can thrive.

Patrick Cregg, the Woodland Trust's director, said: "Brackfield Wood will be a living, lasting and unique tribute to the people of Ireland who played a part in the First World War. In contrast to the sadness and suffering, this will be a special place of remembrance, right by the banks of the River Faughan.

"We're grateful to the Chelsea Pensioners, members of the public, and representatives from a range of organisations for joining us today. The act of tree planting is a simple but poignant and positive gesture. And today, Remembrance Day, it offers an opportunity to remember those who sacrificed so much in the two World Wars and other conflicts."

Belfast Telegraph

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