The popularity of a tree planting event held to mark National Tree Week in Newhaven broke all expectations – with hundreds of volunteers turning out to plant twice as many trees as the organisers had planned!
The event, at Riverside Park, was supported by Royal Warrant holder Burleys, which looks after many of the green spaces around the Lewes and Newhaven area, and numerous volunteer groups, with the aim of making the area look beautiful while providing vital habitat for local wildlife.
The initial plan was to plant 420 trees donated by the Woodland Trust, but the snowballing popularity of the event prompted the donation of a further 400 trees by the town mayor and members of the public.
Indeed, volunteers had to be turned away by mid-afternoon as all 820 trees had already been planted!
The event was led by Deputy Mayor of Newhaven, Coun Lesley Boniface, who is also chair of the Friends of Riverside Park and Valley Ponds.
It was backed by East Sussex County Council, which owns the park with Lewes District Council, and the Greenhavens Network, the South Downs National Park Ranger volunteers, Newhaven Tree Wardens and Sussex Community Development Association.
Coun Boniface explained: “It was amazing to see how the community turned out to support this event. Not only will the new trees improve habitats for the wonderful wildlife we already have on the park, pollination potential will be increased and we’ve certainly done our bit in the fight back against climate change!”
Burleys community liaison officer Karen Rigby-Faux added: “The people of Newhaven rock! There is something electric and exciting about being with that many people doing great things for our future. Don’t lose hope. If our communities keep coming together like this, then we really can make a difference. We can’t bring back what we have lost, but we can arrest the decline. Together we are better.”
The Greenhavens Network consists of 92 community green space groups passionate about looking after the environment. It was set up to protect and enhance green spaces along the South coast, between Telscombe and Seaford. Karen Rigby-Faux and Burleys played a vital role in ensuring that the embryonic group of interested parties with virtually no funding got off the ground.