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Royal Visit Tops Off First World War Tree Scheme

His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent at the tree-planting ceremony at Clitheroe Castle. Published Thursday, 27 November 2014

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 yesterday (26 November).

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. Some parishes have received more than one tree.

From 4 August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War, until 11 November 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 Ribble Valley Borough Council chief executive Marshal Scott.

After planting the tree, His Royal Highness 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.

Grindleton CE Primary School pupils Phoebe Smalley, Robert Sutcliffe and Rebecca Aldington then scattered poppy seeds around the fledgling tree.

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.

The artwork included dramatic battle scenes in charcoal by Year 6 pupils Imogen Metcalf, Jake Barnett and Paige Taylor, and colourful tree images in crayon by Year 1 pupils Henry Holden, Alasdair Ambler and Lucy Taylor.

His Royal Highness 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 16million people across the world and had a huge impact on those who experienced it.

As Ribble Valley came into being in 1974, precise records of the number of fallen in the borough do not exist, but it is believed to be around 1,000.

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