Oak tree to be planted in Chalkwell park in honour of Jewish Refugees

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is delighted to be supporting the Association of Jewish Refugees 80th anniversary project ’80 Trees for 80 Years’ and will be planting a native oak tree in Chalkwell park.

View of Chalkwell park gardens, blue sky and green grasses. Trees in the skyline.

The project, which will see 80 native oak trees planted across the UK in locations with significant meaning for Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors, is endorsed by the Queen’s Green Canopy, another tree planting initiative supported by the council.

The oak tree will be planted in Chalkwell park on Tuesday 30 November at 12pm as part of National Tree Week, with members of the Association of Jewish Refugees joined by The Worshipful The Mayor, Cllr Margaret Borton, as well as Rabbi Hyman, Rabbi for Southend-on-Sea and Westcliff-on-Sea Synagogue. Members of the Southend and District Reform Synagogue will be attending the event, as well as Cllr Paul Collins, cabinet member for corporate services and performance delivery will be there on behalf of the council.

Cllr Carole Mulroney, cabinet member for environment, culture, tourism and planning, said: “We are incredibly proud of our diverse cultural heritage, and our Jewish community make up a significant part of our population, particularly in and around Westcliff. We are thrilled the Association of Jewish Refugees have pinpointed Southend-on-Sea as an area of significance in relation to Jewish refugees and Holocaust survivors, and the planting of the oak tree is a fitting tribute to the community.

“We will be planting 700 standard trees in our Borough this year alone, and we will always welcome donations towards tree planting from different organisations and residents. It is important we continue to plant trees across the town to improve our green canopy coverage, and residents can get involved by planting in their own gardens.

“The event is certain to be poignant and emotive, and I hope the tree will serve as a reminder of the importance our town played, and continues to play, in supporting Jewish refugees.”

Michael Newman OBE, chief executive officer for the Association of Jewish Refugees, said: “As well as helping to mark the heritage of our members and a place of historic interest associated with them, the planting of this tree enables the AJR to give back to and create a living legacy within the country that became home to the Jewish refugees who managed to escape Nazi Europe.

“Britain’s native oak trees are in decline and new trees are desperately needed. We hope these 80 special trees will be appreciated by future generations and provide natural habitats for other native species for many decades to come.”

Published: 25th November 2021

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