Plaques have been installed at sites across Torbay as part of the COVID Memorial Tree Trail, which is to remember all who have suffered during the pandemic and those we have lost to COVID, as well as supporting the Carbon Neutral Torbay agenda of more tree planting.

The COVID Memorial Tree Trail has been led by the local community via the Torbay Greenspace Forum, working in partnership with Torbay Council, SWISCo, and Hi-Line. The trees are being planted by staff from Hi-Line, with support from local Tree Warden volunteers. There are also trees being planted in other community sites such as churchyards and NHS sites.

All the trees in the COVID Memorial Trail have now been planted and the plaques have now also been put in place. Torbay Greenspace Forum purchased the plaques to be installed beside each tree, with two thirds of the funding from the Norman Family Trust and the rest from Foster’s Fund.  The inscription on each plaque reads: “This tree was planted by the community to remember all who have suffered and those we have lost. Torbay Covid Memorial Tree Trail". The plaques were launched at an event at Pretty Park (Sherwell Park) in Chelston on Tuesday 10 May.

Torbay Greenspace Forum acts as an umbrella group for the various voluntary Friends of Parks and Gardens groups across Torbay. SWISCo is owned by, and delivers a range of frontline services on behalf of, Torbay Council, including parks and grounds maintenance and Hi-Line is the Council’s official contractor for tree management.

More tree planting is a key priority in our Carbon Neutral Action Plan and Policy which was approved in March to help tackle climate change. Advantages of trees include absorbing and storing carbon emissions, improving local air quality, helping to keep our homes cool, and reducing local flood risk.

Margaret Forbes-Hamilton, Chair of the Torbay Greenspace Forum, said: ““We are delighted to see our project coming together right across the Bay. I have now been to several tree planting ceremonies, and it is heart-warming to hear the reaction of those learning about the tree trail. We look forward to having details of where all the trees are planted being put up on the council website. This will enable more people to learn out about the trail, and hopefully find somewhere for quiet contemplation for many years to come. This is a living legacy and reminder of on of the most difficult times in living memory."

Leader of Torbay Council Steve Darling said: “Once again I would like to thank Torbay Greenspace Forum for their hard work in driving this project forward and working with our colleagues at the Council, SWISCo, Hi-Line, and of course the Tree Warden volunteers who are helping with this and a range of other projects. This new trail will help us to remember those we lost to COVID as well as helping us to tackle climate change.”

Councillor Mike Morey, Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Environment and Culture for Torbay Council, said: “This is a great community-led initiative and shows what can be achieved when we all work together – the trees and plaques make a welcome addition to the Bay and will provide a fitting and lasting tribute.”

Information on other local COVID Memorial Tree sites

Picture caption: Left to right: Members of Cockington, Chelston and Livermead Community Partnership, including Paul Lidstone, Secretary, John Dent, steering committee member, Margaret Forbes-Hamilton, Chair of Torbay Greenspace Forum, Jack Critchlow, Vice-Chair of the Cockington, Chelston and Livermead Community Partnership, Councillor Nicole Amil, ward Councillor for Cockington,  Chelston and Livermead, Pam Cook, Partnership member, June Pierce, Chair of the Partnership, and Roger Carter, Partnership member.

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