Captain Tom’s Memorial Woodland unveiled in honour of NHS charity fundraiser

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A swathe of ancient woodland and open ground will be renamed and planted with more trees in honour of Captain Sir Tom Moore, the Woodland Trust has said.

The 17 acres of land at Holme House Wood, near the fundraiser’s childhood home close to Keighley, West Yorkshire, will be renamed as Captain Tom’s Memorial Wood, the charity said.

The extension to the wood, on the banks of the North Beck river between the hamlets of Laycock and Goose Eye, includes the planting of more than 3,000 hedgerow trees and shrubs including hawthorn, hazel and field maple.

Small pockets of individual trees will be planted across three meadows to keep key areas of open space and views across the site, while areas of denser tree planting will buffer and protect the existing ancient woodland.

Captain Sir Tom Moore
Captain Sir Tom Moore (Joe Giddens/PA)

The planting at the site, which was acquired by the Woodland Trust in 1991 and is home to bluebell displays in spring and wildlife including sparrow hawks and great spotted woodpeckers, will be plastic free and will also include trees such as oak, rowan, alder, dog rose and crab apple.

Sir Tom’s motto “tomorrow will be a good day” will be engraved on a semi-circular seat near an existing drystone wall looking out over the meadow, the conservation charity said.

Second World War veteran Sir Tom captured the hearts of the nation with his fundraising efforts during the first coronavirus lockdown, when he walked 100 laps of his Bedfordshire garden before his 100th birthday.

He raised £38.9 million for the NHS, including Gift Aid, with the money given to NHS Charities Together.

He died at Bedford Hospital in February after testing positive for Covid-19.

Sir Tom’s family selected two environmental charities to grow a “legacy forest” on their behalf – the Woodland Trust in the UK, and TreeSisters internationally.

His daughter Lucy Teixeira said: “This is a wonderful fitting tribute to my father and his love of nature.

“Trees for Tom grew from my environmental colleagues asking what they could do to honour my father’s death. I asked them to plant trees.

“This project highlights those who have lost a loved one in the last 18 months.

“Captain Tom’s Memorial Woodland will be for everyone in the community and for anyone who wants to come and remember a loved one.

An aerial view of the woodland and open land site
More trees will be planted at the site (Woodland Trust/PA)

“This wood gives us hope for a greener future with nature at the core of all our thinking.”

Site manager Alistair Nash from the Woodland Trust said: “It’s an honour to rename and extend this beautiful site in tribute to a great Yorkshireman.

“Sir Tom was concerned about what the future holds for his grandchildren and the negative impact we are having on our planet.

“We hope this wood will be a fitting memorial to Sir Tom and will inspire people from across the UK, to protect and cherish the natural environment whist enjoying all the splendour this site has to offer.”

The site is within the White Rose Forest, part of the Northern Forest scheme where the Woodland Trust and partners plan to plant more than 50 million trees across an area stretching from Liverpool to Hull.

Planting and other works at the site will begin in March 2022 and are hoped to be finished by autumn next year, the trust said.

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