News release from 11/12/2020

Tree planted to commemorate 75th anniversary of end of World War Two

Tree planted to commemorate 75th anniversary of end of World War Two

The Chairman of South Cambridgeshire District Council has planted a Magnolia ‘Heaven Scent’ tree at the Council’s offices, to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.

The Council had planned for the tree planting to take place in November at around the time of Remembrance Sunday, but this was not possible due to the lockdown.

Using social media, the Council had already marked virtually in 2020 the 75th anniversaries of Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day, which signalled the end of the conflict.

However, today (Friday 11 December) Council Chairman Cllr Douglas de Lacey was joined by Vice Chairman Cllr Anna Bradnam at a social distancing compliant tree planting, to create a more permanent and visible memorial. A total of five people was present, to remain within Government guidance on outdoor gatherings.

Cllr de Lacey, who was joined by his wife Dr Penny de Lacey at the small event, recited a poem that he wrote for the occasion.

This Magnolia, `Heaven Scent' --

Promise of joy to eye and nose --

We plant to stablish our intent,

For, through the seasons as it grows,

It should remind the passer-by

That after war there can be peace.

And things that thrill the nose and eye.

And beauty, hope and loveliness.


Of two long, vile, and ghastly wars

Our generation marks the ends.

We must bequeath a better cause;

This tree a silent message sends --

Stay! Stop before me, on this spot

Make you a vow to bend your wills

Only to improve the human lot,

To battle only human ills.


Poverty, hunger and disease:

These are among our greatest woes;

So vow to combat such as these.

And let them be your greatest foes.

Then as you pass along the earth

To work for peace with new intent,

This little tree shall bless your path

And prove itself as heaven sent.


A simple plaque to commemorate the tree planting has been installed alongside the tree at South Cambridgeshire Hall in Cambourne.

Cllr de Lacey said: “As we near the end of 2020, it was important to me that we found a safe way to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War Two and create a lasting memorial. We owe a great debt to all those fought, and all those who supported them, during the grim years of War. I hope the tree that we have planted today encourages passers-by to pause and reflect as it grows in the years and decades ahead.”

Council Vice Chairman Cllr Anna Bradnam added: “This Council has made a commitment to be green to our core and to support the planting of trees and hedges to improve biodiversity throughout the district. The Woodland Trust reminds us that ‘Trees are the ultimate carbon capture and storage machine. Through photosynthesis trees absorb atmospheric carbon and lock it up for centuries.’

“Men and women died in World War 2 to protect our country, and this tree in the Council's own garden, will remind Council members and staff of the sacrifices they made and to give thanks for the end of hostilities.

“So whilst this Magnolia 'Heaven Scent' may appear of modest stature now, we know that trees are our powerhouses to combat climate change. What better way could we find to honour the sacrifices made by those who died in World War 2, but whose strength lives on, than to plant a tree?"