A royal salute to end of WW1 tree scheme

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent at the tree-planting ceremony at Clitheroe Castle.
His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent at the tree-planting ceremony at Clitheroe Castle.
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Duke of Kent plants last oak and unveils special stone plaque

An ambitious scheme to plant oak trees in Ribble Valley’s 35 parishes in memory of the borough’s First World War fallen was topped off by a Royal visit.

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent planted the final tree at Clitheroe Castle last week.

Oak trees bearing plaques in memory of the hundreds of young Ribble Valley men who lost their lives during the Great War have been planted at 41 sites across the borough throughout the year including Longridge which, with some parishes, has received more than one tree.

From August 4 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, until November 11 2018, the anniversary of the official ceasefire, or Armistice Day, communities across the world are coming together to remember those who lived, fought and died in the First World War.

The Duke of Kent was welcomed to Clitheroe Castle by Ribble Valley Mayor and Mayoress Michael and Janette Ranson, and the borough’s chief executive, Marshal Scott.

After planting the tree, the Duke unveiled a stone plaque donated by Waddington Fell Quarry featuring an inscription handcrafted by the quarry’s stone manager, Gary Devine, commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, as well as a section from Laurence Binyon’s iconic poem, Ode of Remembrance.

His Royal Highness then toured the Clitheroe Castle Museum, before viewing an exhibition of artwork with a First World War and tree theme produced especially for the Royal visit by pupils from St Mary’s Primary School, Mellor.

He also inspected soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment and the Ribble Valley Army Cadets, and met members of local Royal British Legion groups.

Ribble Valley Mayor Michael Ranson said: “I am delighted that so many parishes have supported the tree-planting campaign and helped to create a ‘living’ memorial to the borough’s brave young men and their loved ones.

“I am particularly delighted that this successfully community campaign was completed by The Duke of Kent, a former professional soldier and honorary Field Marshal, who remains the Royal Colonel of a number of well-known regiments. Before leaving, His Royal Highness told me he had thoroughly enjoyed his visit to Ribble Valley.”

The First World War claimed the lives of 16 million people across the world and about a thousand from the borough of Ribble Valley.