Neville Funerals welcomed more than 250 people to a special commemorative tree-planting event at the Forest of Marston Vale in Bedfordshire on Sunday (23rd February).
This is the ninth year that the company has organised the event which is held to help people remember loved ones they have lost and create a lasting memorial in their honour. More than 400 trees were planted during the day with a range of species used including Pedunculate Oak, Hornbeam, Silver Birch, Field Maple, Wild Cherry, Rowan and Common Alder.
Everyone who planted a tree received a personalised tree dedication certificate and an eco-friendly goody bag with forget-me-not seeds to plant at home. Refreshments were served in the Forest Centre where there was also a special memory tree, created by Neville Funeral’s sister company, Neville Joinery. Visitors were able to write messages on wooden hearts which were then placed on the tree.
Vicky Trumper, Director at Neville Funeral Service said: “Tree planting is a wonderful way for our clients to provide a living, growing memorial to a loved and is a poignant way of remembering them. It also provides an opportunity to gather with others who have experience bereavement and share memories.
“Since we first started holding the event almost 3,000 people have taken part. We are always thrilled to see so many people turn out – despite the weather! I’d also like to thank our staff who work so hard and give up their free time each year to make sure these events are such a success.”
Laura White, who attended the event with her dad and his partner, said: “From the moment we got into the car park, we were made to feel so welcome. My dad is wheelchair bound and could not make the bus journey to the planting site, so he stayed in the refreshment area. He was incredibly well looked after by the staff there who made sure he had cake and coffee at all times. Needless to say, he was more than happy with this arrangement! At no point was he made to feel like a hindrance, which we have experienced from time to time.
“The event was well organised, and was just a really nice thing to do – to plant a lasting memory of loved ones no longer here. All the staff represented Neville Funerals absolutely perfectly, always with a smile on their face despite the unsettled weather. Nothing seemed too much trouble and we had a lovely afternoon.”
John Hall added: “Thank you for organising the tree memorial service on Sunday. Myself and my family found it a very moving sentiment and thoroughly enjoyed the day. The gift bags were a lovely memento, in particular the forget-me-not seeds. The staff were all incredibly helpful and couldn’t have done any more.”
As well as being a special commemorative event, the tree-planting will also help to contribute to the local environment. The Forest of Marston Vale is a charity that has been planting trees since the early 1990s, to transform the landscape and make the area a thriving place to live, work and play. More than 2 million trees have been planted so far with a goal of planting another five million in the future.
“Planting trees is essential for our future”, says Robina Ballard-Davis, Fundraising Officer for the Forest of Marston Vale. “Neville Funerals’ annual memorial planting day helps us as a charity to plant hundreds more trees and we are thankful for their support and to be part of such a poignant day. Planting a tree in memory of a loved one creates a living legacy that will benefit us all for generations to come.”
To find out more about the Forest of Marston Vale, visit www.marstonvale.org.