A commemorative community orchard will be built in Grantham to create an iconic memorial as a living tribute to British forces and wartime allies who came together to fight for freedom.
South Kesteven District Council has signed a 50-year-lease on the National Trust-owned Sedgwick Meadows, near Wyndham Park, for Grantham’s Heroes Commemorative Orchard.
The 3.74-acre site will house 75 trees. It will mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day and district links to D-Day and Arnhem.
It will be mostly fruit trees, but with three rows of distinctive silver birch to denote the allies’ white identification stripes painted on D-Day aircraft fuselage and wings.
Two American acer trees will also be planted to symbolise the American contribution to WWII, when Grantham was surrounded by airfields hosting men and aircraft of the United States Army Air Force 1X Troop Carrier Command.
Every tree will symbolise, not only passing of the years, but the strength and diversity of a shared spirit.
Funding for the partnership project was raised through the council’s crowdfunding project, CrowdfundSK. Over £12,000 has been raised from pledges, including a donation of over £5,600 from the council.
Schools and community supporters have registered to attend planting days on Sunday, March 15 (2pm-4pm) and Thursday, March 19 (11am-1pm). Any interested parties should contact Elizabeth Bowskill at the Wyndham Park Forum at [email protected]
Councillor Kelham Cooke, South Kesteven District Council Leader, is planning to join the tree planting.
He said: “I am delighted to see this project become a reality. We have been working closely with the National Trust and the funding co-ordinators, the Wyndham Park Forum, to bring this exciting project to fruition.
“We really appreciate the Trust’s readiness to help create a Heroes Orchard in the centre of Grantham.
“The land was bequeathed to the Trust from the Sedgwick sisters with the express idea that the public could enjoy the pasture alongside the River Witham, and I cannot think of a better way for that bequest to be honoured.”