Memorial Hall Tree Planting Ceremony

Over a year ago my wife and I read a story that appeared in a Melbourne newspaper written by our brother-in-law Tony Wright, in which he told the story of the young Australian servicemen who gave their lives in WW1 to support the Mother country, and in particular the small Australian town of Ballarat who planted the first commemorative trees. Today you can find memorial avenues of trees in many small Australian towns.

‘The young women working the sewing machines and the cutting tables and the packing rooms at E. Lucas and Co., Ballarat’s then famous fashion and textile business, could barely abide the melancholic and growing absence of their district’s men. The Lucas Girls, 500 of them, planted the first 1000 trees on June 3, 1917. None of the young women could know that as their trees went into the ground, the world was about to grow darker.’

So to coincide with the centenary of the building of the Memorial Hall in 1920, a tree-planting ceremony was held on 11 February at the side of the Hall by Crosby Way, to commemorate the five employees of Farnham United Breweries who lost their lives during the First World War serving their country.

Since speaking to some of the relatives leading up to this planting ceremony, we have become aware of the ‘The implications of mourning without a body are profound.’ One relative we corresponded with in Australia told us that when she returns to England, she wants to visit the tree as a focus for her respect.

It was truly wonderful to see so many people, in the sunshine on this special Tuesday morning, including the Mayors of Waverley and Farnham, representatives of the armed forces, the Royal British Legion, the Reverend Uffindell, the Scouting movement, local residents and, especially, related family members. Thank you to all of those who supported this event.

It is hoped the trees will beautify and soften the street scene of Crosby Way and display pink double flowers in the Spring and blaze of gold and red foliage in the Autumn.

This tree planting ceremony was a cooperative event between Farnham Town Council and Waverley Borough Council.

George Hesse

Farnham Castle Ward

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