Retirement estate celebrates tree charter

Mayor Alex Harman holds the charter and Matt French holds the tree, right, watched by residents of Guardian Court. Picture: Derek Martin DM17113293a
Mayor Alex Harman holds the charter and Matt French holds the tree, right, watched by residents of Guardian Court. Picture: Derek Martin DM17113293a

A retirement development in Worthing is helping the Woodland Trust to celebrate the launch of its new tree charter.

Guardian Court, in Rogate Road, was presented with a legacy tree and the planting ceremony last Tuesday was attended by Worthing mayor Alex Harman.

Estate manager Matt French said: “We have a large estate, so when we saw this offer from the Woodland Trust, we thought it would be perfect for us.

“Guardian Court has 32 leasehold properties and our residents’ ages are between the late 50s and mid-90s.

“The trust asked for the tree to be planted in November for Tree Month and wanted there to be a ceremony to dedicate the tree, so as we do have many residents here interested in gardening and nature, and the facilities to hold a reception, I thought it would be appropriate to ask the mayor of Worthing to attend, which he accepted.”

The trust donated the tree as part of its nationwide legacy campaign and Guardian Court, an Anchor estate, has joined thousands of others celebrating the launch of the tree charter.

Sarah Rouse, project officer, said: “Planting season starts in mid to late November and National Tree Week, November 25 to December 3, creates a national moment to celebrate the tree charter launch.”

The call for a tree charter was initiated in 2015 in response to the crisis facing trees and woods in the UK. There was no clear, unifying statement about the rights of people to the benefits of trees, woods and forests.

On November 6 – the 800th anniversary of the 1217 Charter of the Forest – the new Charter for Trees, Woods and People was launched at Lincoln Castle, home to one of the two remaining 1217 Charters of the Forest.

During the year, the trust had reached out to all sections of society to define this new charter and to build a people-powered movement for trees.

More than 70 organisations and 300 community groups answered the call and helped to collect more than 60,000 tree stories from people across the country, demonstrating the important role trees play in their lives.

These stories were read and shared, and helped to define the 10 principles of the tree charter, ensuring that it stands for every tree and every person in the UK.

Sarah added: “The charter sets out the principles for a society in which people and trees can stand stronger together.”