Covid Edinburgh: Year-long tree-planting project in Cramond to remember all that has been lost through Covid

School children have planted the first tree in a project which aims to create a living memorial to all that has been lost in their community through Covid.

By Ian Swanson
Saturday, 11th December 2021, 4:55 am

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Over the next year local organisations in Cramond will plant more trees and bulbs as focal points for remembrance.

The first tree, a Sessile oak, was planted outside Cramond Kirk Halls by pupils from Cramond Primary and Cargilfield School.

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Local residents and children at the launch of the Cramond Commemorates initiative.

The Cramond Commemorates initiative now hopes to involve families, individuals, schools, church and community groups in providing trees and bulbs for public spaces and gardens in the area.

Stuart Richardson, chair of the project, said: “Covid-19 has inflicted pain and loss on many through illness and death. And social isolation and restrictions have taken their toll on people of all ages.

“It’s important to have somewhere to go, where people can reflect, remember, grieve, or celebrate a loved one’s life. Hopefully they will find solace in the act of planting beautiful living memorials in Cramond, Barnton and Cammo.”

The Rev Ian Gilmour, locum minister at Cramond Kirk, said the idea for Cramond Commemorates had come out of another initiative Imagine Cramond, which asked people to think three years ahead, and describe what they would like to see in their community beyond the pandemic. It attracted 220 entries and an exhibition was held at cthe hurch halls.

Cargilfield pupils Sylvan (left) and Judith with headmaster Rob Taylor beside the oak tree.

Mr Gilmour said: "The schools, Cramond Primary and Cargilfield, were both heavily involved and the children by and large came up with eco themes - they wanted more trees planted and more plants that would be suitable for bees, as well as tidying up the shoreline and the River Almond.

"So out of that a small group of us, including the schools, thought commemorating everything that had been lost during the pandemic – not just people but also freedoms and schooling and parties and holidays – could be marked with one year of planting trees. It sits quite well with the council's City of a Million Trees which started in October.

"We’ve had quite a bit of interest and we’ve already raised about £300.”

People can pay £20 to have a tree planted or £2 for bulbs and a website will record what is being commemorated.

Once the costs of the project are met, any extra money raised will be channelled into planting more trees and bulbs.

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Mr Gilmour said the response has been encouraging, not least from the school children.

"It has been hard trying to keep everyone focused on the future, particularly last winter with no singing, children's parties being cancelled and so on, I was pleased we were able to look ahead and children were able to engage creatively with planning for the future. Those kind of skills really help communities and help individuals for their future.”

The project has suggested people may wish to gift a tree to someone they know for Christmas, with the opportunity to choose from the available stock early in the new year or planting able to be arranged on their behalf.

The project can be contacted at [email protected]

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