ARMISTICE 100: Avenue of trees planted as lifelong tribute

Melrose middle school kids Finlay Buckley, Ceka Scott, Aleshya Ballantyne and Charlie Frances were planting Copper Beech Trees with Teacher Tom Rawson and Anna Craigen from The Woodlands Trust
Melrose middle school kids Finlay Buckley, Ceka Scott, Aleshya Ballantyne and Charlie Frances were planting Copper Beech Trees with Teacher Tom Rawson and Anna Craigen from The Woodlands Trust

A lasting natural monument in memory of those Borderers who fought in the First World War has been created by more than 100 Melrose residents.

A one-mile-long stretch of Annay Road, between Abbey Mill and Newstead, is now lined on both sides by copper beeches, as part of a project led by the town’s St Mary’s School.

Alexandra and Philip Church from St Boswells planting on the avenue.

Alexandra and Philip Church from St Boswells planting on the avenue.

Tom Rawson, a teacher there, said: “Planting trees is an amazing way to connect the past with the future.

“The young people who planted these trees may well forget about them for a few years but they will carry on growing steadily by the edge of the road and those same children will be able to return as adults, maybe with their own children, and remember what they did in 2018.

“Perhaps they will also be able to think about the significance is of the First World War centenary and what it means to the Borders.”

The avenue project was completed thanks to a Border tree planting grant and with help from Tweed Forum and the Borders Forest Trust.

“They have been wonderfully supportive of the project right from the very start as have all the local landowners including Melrose Rugby Club,” Mr Rawson said.

“All parties have recognised the importance of involving young people in creating a meaningful and lasting natural memorial to those who fought in the First World War.”

Mr Rawson is also organising a project called #1918oaks through his environmental group Green Tweed Eco. He is attempting to grow 1,918 oak trees from seeds in primary schools across the Borders.

So far Lauder and Melrose primaries have a tree nursery in their playgrounds with 420 oak trees growing in each one.

Any schools interested in looking after a tree nursery as part of the #1918oaks project should contact Tom through his Instagram page @greentweedeco .