Shropshire Council’s planned activities all link into the 2018 theme “The power of words”.
We are going to hold our 2018 cherry tree planting ceremony at Trinity CofE School in Ford on the morning of Friday 26th January, at about 1130, following one to the east of the town with Mereside CofE, at about 930, where we will be measuring how the 2015 tree has grown. This should lead to positive publicity for what has become a very moving and fitting way to commemorate the Holocaust and other genocides. More importantly, it is a chance to continue to involve the children of Mereside in the Day, and help to make it real for the children at the 2018 school in a way that will be age appropriate.
Local Shropshire Council councillors will be involved in the ceremonies.
We are also working closely with the South Shropshire Inter Faith Forum and the Shrewsbury Inter Faith Forum on this, having been delighted to benefit from the input of members of both Forums in previous years. Mark Michaels and Imam Sohayb Peerbhai will talk to the children at both events, and help them with lighting a candle and with planting of the 2018 tree and measuring of the 2015 tree. The Shrewsbury Interfaith Forum will be represented at Mereside, whilst the local vicar will take part at Trinity.
The regional support worker for the HMD Trust, Nicola Toms, will be at both events.
There will also be a commemoration ceremony at Woodside Academy in Oswestry, in the north of the county, where they will be measuring how the 2016 tree has grown, with support from the local Councillor. We do not have a firm date on that one yet, likely to be 22nd January.
Meanwhile, the 2017 tree, planted this year with Bishop Hooper School in the south, was in fact eaten by rabbits. The plan is to replant one there, at the start of HMD week on Monday 22nd January, with the South Shropshire Interfaith Forum, who have kindly indicated that they will fund a replacement plus rabbit proof netting
A display in the foyer at Shirehall in the week will start Wednesday 25th and run through until Wednesday the following week. The plan is to have pictures of all eight trees planted to date, including the five planted with secondary schools in 2017, plus stories of how the schools are looking after them, further related materials including reflections by the children, and resources from the HMD Trust. The foyer is passed through by workforce and councillors as well as people from partner organisation and members of the public, so there is good potential for wide sharing of the 2018 Theme on the Power of Words, not least through people talking to each other about it.
A photo shoot has been arranged in the foyer with the Portfolio Holder for Communities, Councillor Joyce Barrow, and with Mr Mark Michaels, for around noon on Wednesday 24th January. This will further highlight activities in Shropshire.
The background here is that the Council is continuing efforts to grow a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across Shropshire, working with primary and secondary schools and inter faith forums. We identify a primary school each year, and are seeking to spread the orchard across the county. The orchard had a growth spurt last year, when we were also able to provide for five secondary schools to have trees as well. Having begun in the centre in 2015, with Mereside CofE School, we have planted in the north at Woodside Academy in Oswestry and in the south at Bishop Hooper School in Ashford Carbonell, and are now back in the central area again for 2018.
We will turn our eyes north for 2019.