Member of “Cricket Dynasty” launches Worcester as QGC “Champion City”

6.-Mandy-Neil-Tom-Wisniewski-Brett-DOliveira-Mayor-Iwona-Gustztyn-Wiola-Dylnicka Left to right: 6. Mandy Neil, Tom Wisniewski, Captain Brett D'Oliveira, Mayor of Worcester, Iwona Gustztyn, Wiola Dylnicka

Brett D'Oliveira, Worcestershire County Cricket Club Captain, will help to plant a series of Jubilee trees to restore an Edwardian Avenue at Worcester Racecourse on Friday 11th February, in celebration of Worcester becoming a QGC "Champion City".

Brett – who is part of the city's "cricket dynasty" and the grandson of legendary England and Worcester all-rounder Basil D'Oliveira – will join the Mayor of Worcester and members of the local community to plant lime trees to form a grand avenue at Pitchcroft, the site of Worcester Racecourse, which has been enjoyed by thousands of local people and visitors since it was planted at the start of the 20th Century.

As part of The Queen's Green Canopy, a "Champion Cities" programme has been launched to celebrate some of the nation's outstanding cities which have trees and woodland as a central part of their plans for green spaces. The restoration of this special avenue reflects an extensive tree planting programme in Worcester, which aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Brett D'Oliveira said: "It is an honour to have been invited to join the Mayor of Worcester and students from the University of Worcester for the planting of trees in recognition of Her Majesty The Queen's Platinum Jubilee."

The Mayor of Worcester, Cllr Stephen Hodgson, said: "It is a great honour for Worcester to be selected as a "Champion City" as part of The Queen's Green Canopy. The city is known for its loyalty to the Royal Family and our reputation as a green city, one that enjoys more than 548 hectares of tree cover and nestles among some of the country's most beautiful countryside, is growing all the time."

Henry Sandon MBE, antique expert and one of Worcester's most famous residents, said: "I have met Her Majesty on several occasions and I would like to give my full support to The Queen's Green Canopy as an imaginative and appropriate way to celebrate her remarkable reign. As a keen archaeologist in days gone by, I was responsible for digging a great many holes in Worcester, looking for old pots. When I back-filled those holes, I never thought of sticking a tree sapling in each and many a new building went up instead. It is good to see my oversight now being corrected and to know that the people of Worcester will be able to enjoy many more beautiful trees thanks to this first-class initiative."

In 2022, Worcester will plant trees at its seven Queen Elizabeth II Fields in Trust sites and also hold a special planting ceremony at King George V playing fields, named in memory of The Queen's grandfather. The latter will include the unveiling of a design feature from the winner of a public competition to be launched later this year by Worcester City Council.

The city recently planted 400 trees to mark the 400th anniversary of King James I putting his seal to the Charter that granted Worcester the rights and constitution that established the basis of its modern governance. A further 1,500 saplings have just been planted to form a new edible hedgerow at the city's Aconbury Orchard. Later in the year a new woodland area will be created at Perdiswell in the north of the city with 1,000 new trees planted and a further 4,000 to follow before the end of 2024.

Worcester City Council has recently launched a new Environmental Community Grant scheme, to provide grants of between £500 and £1,000 to community groups, charities and voluntary organisations to help make the city's neighbourhoods more environmentally friendly.

The Queen's Green Canopy

As part of its work to highlight urban greening initiatives, The Queen's Green Canopy (QGC) invited cities from across the United Kingdom to apply for "Champion City" status. The initiative seeks to celebrate UK cities which have trees and woodlands as a central part of their plans for green spaces, for example in the form of a dynamic green recovery plan or green city charter, as well as community-oriented environmental projects.

Other UK cities which have been awarded QGC "Champion" status so far include Greater Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Chester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Greater London, Leicester, Newcastle, Preston, Swansea, Southampton and York. The Queen's Green Canopy is a unique tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee in 2022, which invites people from across the UK to "Plant a Tree for the Jubilee".

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