Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting ceremony at Groombridge Station
A special event was held at Groombridge Station on the Spa Valley Railway on Saturday 19 March as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy tree planting initiative to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Because trees and railway lines are not always obvious companions – nobody likes to hear of leaves on the line – the three Scots Pine trees were planted some distance down the tracks in a suitable clearing. The event was organised by Spa Valley Railway Trustee Mark Patrick with help from volunteers at the railway.
After a ceremony at Groombridge Station to unveil the plaques, the invited guests boarded the train along with the trees, and the train paused en route to drop off the trees. On the return journey the train stopped again so that everyone could see the three trees planted in their new location.
The Railway was delighted to welcome invited guests including the Mayor of Tunbridge Wells Cllr Chris Woodward, the Mayoress Mrs Jenny Woodward and the Chairman of Wealden District Council Ron Reed.
The Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex Andrew Blackman unveiled the plaques and gave a speech alongside the Railway’s Patron Lord Abergavenny DL and David Allam DL who remembered railway volunteer Don Foreman who gave many years of service to the railway. One of the trees planted was in his memory.
The Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex said ‘The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. It invites people from across the United Kingdom to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’ and to create a legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.
‘With a focus on planting sustainably, the Queen’s Green Canopy seeks to highlight the significant value of trees and woodlands as nature’s simple but highly effective way to clean the air we breathe, slow the impact of climate change, create important wildlife habitats and improve our general health and wellbeing.’
Everyone from individuals to groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and organisations is encouraged to get involved, enhancing our environment by planting commemorative trees during the official planting seasons up to the end of March and from October through to the end of this Jubilee year. For more information on the Queen’s Green Canopy in East Sussex, visit our main QGC East Sussex page or the QGC website.
Some of the guests took advantage of the opportunity to go on the footplate of the Steam Locomotive at Eridge Station.
A normal passenger service also ran all weekend and it was lovely to see the train so busy. The steam locomotive taking passengers between Tunbridge Wells West and Eridge was ‘Sir Keith Park’, a stunning locomotive which has a permanent home in the Victorian Engine Shed at Tunbridge Wells West and was built at Brighton Works in 1947 and named after Air Vice Marshall Sir Keith Park.
2022 is also the Spa Valley Railway’s 25th anniversary with special events planned including an anniversary gala at the railway between 26 and 29 August 2022. See www.spavalleyrailway.co.uk
If you want to see more there’s a link to a short ITV news report about the day here: https://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2022-03-19/steam-railway-replants-trees-lost-in-great-storm-to-mark-queens-jubilee