Residents and community groups across Eastbourne are coming together to mark the Queen's birthday today (Thursday, April 21) with the launch of a flagship tree planting project.
The Queen's Green Canopy in Eastbourne is described as the town's ‘birthday present to Queen’ in the year of her Platinum Jubilee.
The scheme, which is part of a national campaign to plant trees in celebration of her 70 years as monarch, will see a wide variety of trees planted beside the highway from Butts Brow to Black Robin Farm.
Local groups and individuals are being invited to get involved by sponsoring the newly planted trees.
Lord Ralph Lucas has been leading the project in close partnership with Treebourne, the local charity which has been driving tree planting across the town in recent years, and with support from Eastbourne Borough Council and 3VA.
Treebourne and its team of volunteers will be carrying out much of the planting, which builds upon the group’s huge success in bringing thousands of new trees to the town in recent years.
The Mayor of Eastbourne, Councillor Pat Rodohan, who has already planted a tree in Gildredge Park as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme, said: "I am delighted that so many people of all ages and groups in our community are coming together to mark the Queen’s birthday and Platinum Jubilee year in a way that will benefit residents, visitors and our environment for generations to come – especially in light of the Queen’s fondness for Eastbourne.
"I would particularly like to thank Treebourne, Lord Ralph Lucas and Lady Antonia Lucas for their work to help bring this wonderful initiative to Eastbourne, along with council officers and 3VA.”
Queen Elizabeth II has visited Eastbourne many times throughout her life, including for holidays as a child, and has previously spoken of her love for Eastbourne beach.
Adam Rose, Co-leader of Treebourne, said: “I’m immensely proud of the huge number of new trees Treebourne volunteers have planted across the town already and we look forward to planting even more trees through the Queen’s Green Canopy in Eastbourne.
"These trees will help mitigate the devastating loss of thousands of ash and elm trees to disease. Treebourne’s mission is to double Eastbourne’s tree cover by 2030 and we can offer plenty of volunteering opportunities for anyone wishing to get involved in this vital and rewarding work.”
Lord Ralph Lucas said: “The Queen spent holidays in Eastbourne as a young girl, and her father formally opened the town's downlands when it was bought by Eastbourne Council in 1929. As a legacy of her Platinum Jubilee, we are setting out on a 10-year project to regenerate the slopes of the South Downs above Eastbourne.
“We have designed an avenue of ecologies stretching from Butts Brow at the northern edge of the town to Black Robin Farm near Beachy Head.
"Everyone living in Eastbourne will be able to reserve their own unique spot on the map. You can name it, record your memories of the Queen, and upload a photograph and description. We want this to become a permanent record of our town and its people in this special jubilee year.
“We will be raising money to fund the project through sponsorship - from £10 for a pair of tree seedlings and a place to put them, to £1,000 for a three or four-year-old tree in a prominent position on the path. You can also sponsor benches and works of art.”
To find out more about the project visit eastbournejgc.org and to learn more about the work of Treebourne or to find out about volunteering opportunities, visit treebourne.org