The Memorial Trees
In St Nicholas church in Bishops Sutton is a plaque with Fourteen names inscribed on it -fourteen Bishop’s Sutton men who sacrificed their lives in the First World War. When they signed up, they would have had no understanding of the sheer scale of violence and death that was about to face them as they left the village for what would be their last time.
That Plaque was joined by two others over the years, for two other wars, more lost lives.
100 years on and Melissa Simm, villager and local artist thought of planting trees around our village that these men might have lived and worked, to remember the sacrifice they made.
With the help of Paul Rutherford, Melissa raised the money and people needed, and had permission granted to plant fourteen trees in the village to commemorate these lives lost during the Great War, plus a fifteenth for Anthony Shepherd who lost his life in the Korean War, and a further four (added in the Spring of 2019) for those who died in World War Two. Melissa and Paul coordinated with Hampshire Highways to discuss the exact position and species of tree.
Fifteen Prunus Cherry Blossom trees and spring bulbs were given planting approval by the Highways, Utilities and PPC (plus the four extra later on) located on the verge running to the village from the Ropley roundabout and on Saturday 10 November 2018 planting took place by volunteers for fourteen of them, followed by the final tree in a ceremony attended by villagers and the British legion the following Tuesday 13th November, two days after the 100 years remembrance of Armistice Day.
Since then, the trees have had their first blossom in the spring, and the four WW2 trees have been planted. Each tree has a local villager Custodian, who ensures that their tree is regularly watered in these early times before the trees fully take hold. The next phase is to create plaques for each tree and the local person they are in memoriam to.