Junior Soldiers (JS) from Harrogate’s Army Foundation College (AFC) acted as gardeners to help launch the Queen’s Green Canopy, a campaign to plant trees to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee next year.
- Queens Green Canopy (QGC) is a UK-wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022, by inviting people to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.”
The choice of tree planted at Harrogate is particularly poignant given that Magnolias are native to Asia.
A fitting tribute then to Captain Tom, who was the Honorary Colonel of the College before his sad passing, and served in India and Burma during World War Two.
The College held an inter-company competition to see which section would have the honour of planting the trees. There were various challenges, such stripping a weapon blindfolded, battlefield casualty skills, PT tournament, command tasks and shooting on the range.
16-year-old JS Michael Oates, from West Yorkshire, said:
I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a new experience for me and it’s ace. Captain Tom was born in the same place, and went to the same school, as my mum, who has passed away. So, it’s good to see someone from a place close to me.
Planting trees and helping the environment is really good. It makes me proud to know that I am a part of this.
The Queen’s Green Canopy will encourage the planting of trees to create a legacy in honour of HM The Queen’s leadership of the nation, which will benefit future generations.
It will help everyone to learn more about the best way to plant trees so that greenery can survive and flourish for years to come.
Staff at the AFC, which trains teenage recruits, will continue to work on the site by adding memorials honouring Captain Tom in the coming weeks.
16-year-old JS James Willis, from the south east of England, said:
Captain Tom was a very strong individual. He was a 100-year-old man; if he can get up in the morning and raise money towards such a cause, I think I can get out of bed at six o’clock and do what I need to do [in training].
We need to plant trees because of pollution and helping the environment makes the world a better place. I am quite proud, and grateful, to get chosen to plant a tree for the Queen and the Jubilee.
Other troops that helped include JS Chris Griffiths, from Anglesey in North Wales, and JS Bradley Newby, from Rotherham in South Yorkshire; both are 16.
While these recruits will soon move on to start their promising careers, the trees they have planted will serve as a permanent reminder to their hard work and the values of the British Army.
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Farebrother took up the post of Commanding Officer of the Harrogate Foundation College in July 2021, taking over from Rich Hall MBE. He joined the Uniacke Barracks from the Defence Academy near Oxford, which was more of a Higher Education institution.
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Farebrother MC, Commanding Officer (CO) of the AFC, said:
Today is about celebrating the Queens Green Canopy, planting a tree to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70th year on the throne. For us that is a really good example of service for a place where people are jut beginning their service to the nation.
Everyone at Army Foundation College is delighted to be playing our part in the Queen’s Green Canopy. It’s a wonderful way of celebrating Her Majesty’s service to the nation and enhances the environment for everyone here in Harrogate.
The tree has been planted at the gateway to ‘Captain Sir Tom Moore Walk’, in the centre of the College, so is in a really special place where it will be seen by everyone who visits. We hope that others will follow the example of the Junior Solders, grab a spade, and plant their own tree in a place special to them.