Town and gown celebrate Queen's Platinum Jubilee with tree planting in Buckingham

Leading figures from Buckingham and its university are joined by the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks for Queen's Green Canopy planting ceremony

By Hannah Richardson
Monday, 17th January 2022, 5:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 8:50 am

Town and gown came together to celebrate the Queen's Platinum Jubilee with a tree planting at the University of Buckingham.

Seven cherry trees have been planted along the path between Beloff Lawn and the Clore Lab on the Hunter Street campus, plus 18 London planes along the circular walk by the river.

The university's head of estates, Matt Cross, University Council member Milly Soames and partnerships and outreach manager Dean Jones came up with the idea of a full ceremony to bring the community to the university for the Queen’s Green Canopy planting.

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Mayor of Buckingham Margaret Gateley, left, with vice-chancellor James Tooley and Lord Lieutenant of Bucks, The Countess Howe and air cadets

Vice-chancellor James Tooley thanked everyone for braving the foggy and icy conditions to attend the ceremony on Saturday.

Planting the first tree, guest of honour the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks, The Countess Howe, said the beautiful sight of 25 cherry blossom and plane trees would be a lasting commemoration of the Queen for generations of students to come.

A prayer from the rector of Buckingham, Rev Will Pearson Gee, honouring Her Majesty was followed by a reading of about trees by English professor John Drew.

Buckingham Air Cadets Cadet Sergeant Isabella Sartain, who is an English student at the university, was joined by Cadet Flight Sergeant Harry Freeman, Cadet Corporal Sienna Chaggar and Cadet William Saunders at the event.

Prof Tooley with The Countess Howe and representatives of Buckingham Air Cadets, Scouts and Cubs

Tom Edwards of Tingewick Scouts and Oscar Mason of 3rd Buckingham Cubs also attended.

The second sapling was planted by Prof Tooley and Student Union president Caitlin Botha.

Digging was suspended while medical student and harpist Shelley Hynes played a piece she had composed.

Also at the ceremony were the Mayor of Buckingham, Margaret Gateley, and Buckingham councillors Warren Whyte, Howard Mordue and Ade Osibogun, who is also a PhD student at the university.

Prof Tooley and Student Union president Caitlin Botha plants a tree with the Lord Lieutenant of Bucks

Staff present included alumni Dr Deba Cardhan Correia and Prof Harin Sellahewa, who are now Deans at the University and pro-vice chancellor Dr Jane Tapsell.

Afterwards, guests warmed up inside the Vinson Centre with drinks and pastries.

Vice-chancellor James Tooley said: “It was a very fitting way to begin the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

"Our guest of honour, Lord Lieutenant, The Countess Howe, gave a marvellous speech.

Cadet Corporal Sienna Chaggar, Cadet Flight Sergeant Harry Freeman and Cadet William Saunders at the tree planting

"The combination of this and readings, a prayer and a musical piece composed by one of our students made this a special and lovely occasion.

"Thanks to Buckingham Air Cadets and a Cub and Scout for representing local groups.

"It was great to be joined by the mayor and councillors too - a wonderful coming together of town and gown.

"I was so grateful to the guests, students and staff who shrugged off foggy conditions to attend.

"This line of cherry blossom trees will make spring on campus even more beautiful for generations of students to come."