Anniversary of Dunblane Tragedy.
Twenty years ago, the residents of Dunblane asked people to remember their murdered children, and their teacher, by planting trees. Local residents and businesses donated trees, and volunteers, many of them parents of similar-aged children, planted them in the grounds of Gilthwaites First School. To mark the twentieth anniversary, governors at the school agreed to the erection of a plaque, recently unveiled in the presence of teachers, pupils and several of our parish councillors. Cllr Neil Denby is pictured with a group of the children.
Charter of the Forest
In summer 2015 the Woodland Trust put out an invitation for organisations from across the conservation, environmental, business and social sectors to join a call for a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People. This charter would bring trees and woods back into the centre of public consciousness and political decision-making in the UK. More than 40 organisations answered the call, and have been working with the Woodland Trust to create a national moment for woods and trees. The ambition is to put trees back at the heart of our lives, communities and decision making - where they belong.
The Charter will be launched in November 2017; the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest. In 1217, two years after the Magna Carta was sealed by King John (and annulled two months later), his heir Henry III accepted the Charter of the Forest. The aim of this document was to protect the rights of people to access and use the Royal Forests, which Norman rulers were increasingly restricting. The Charter of the Forest provides a window to a time in history when access to woods was integral to life. It has never been annulled.
I took up the invitation to become a ‘Charter Champion’ and asked the Parish Council to approve the designation of Denby Dale Parish as a Charter Branch. This in no way affects the autonomy of any of the woodland and conservation groups in the area but, hopefully, provides a further source for project funding, to encourage volunteers and, via the Woodland Trust, a source of free trees and advice.
The Charter’s website is at https://treecharter.uk and there are currently grants available to Charter Groups (application forms at https://treecharter.uk/charter-champion-resources). You can also use the site to advertise your own events. Free multiple copies of ‘Leaf’, the magazine produced by the Woodland Trust and Common Ground, will be placed in the two parish libraries at Denby Dale and Skelmanthorpe. Leaf is also available online at https://treecharter.uk/2016/04/26/leaf-spring-issue/
There are many established woodland and environmental groups in our area, along with the Denby Dale Parish Environment Trust, who I hope, will want to support the Charter. I also hope that the promotion of the Charter will become a key part of our new Countryside Officer’s duties.
Cllr Neil Denby