Golden anniversary oak tree takes root for a greener future

Council Chairman, Councillor Mike Clarke and Chief Executive Ian Fytche plant first of commemorative trees
Council Chairman, Councillor Mike Clarke and Chief Executive Ian Fytche plant first of commemorative trees

The first of 50 trees has been planted by the Chairman of North Kesteven District Council in commemoration of the Council’s 50th anniversary.

The oak planted at North Hykeham’s Millennium Green is representative of the gold oak tree that features prominently within the Council’s official crest. This oak was taken from the arms of the East Kesteven Rural District Council, which was one of the three councils that merged on April 1, 1974, to form the new North Kesteven District Council. Ultimately it originated on the crest of Kesteven County Council, a predecessor of Lincolnshire County Council, representing the ancient forests of the old county.

It is also indicative of the forward vision of North Kesteven District Council and strategic objective to significantly increase tree cover within its climate action response, to enhance the area’s biodiversity, take advantage of the myriad environmental benefits achieved through increased tree numbers and advance a position of carbon neutrality by 2030.

The last of the 50 trees will be planted in Sleaford during the autumn/winter planting season; with the 48 others intended to be spread broadly across the District in a programme involving Members, parish councils and community groups to determine the best locations.

As he positioned the first of the oaks, Council Chairman Cllr Mike Clarke said: “Today, we are not just planting a tree; we are planting a legacy. This tree symbolizes the growth, strength, and enduring spirit of North Kesteven District Council, which has flourished for 50 remarkable years.”

He said that through half a century of changes and challenges, like the roots of a tree, the Council’s commitment to its community had only deepened. He also drew comparison in the way oak trees are home to the greatest variety of species, offer the broadest scope of sanctuary, shelter and support and enrich the environment, soils and air, ‘just as our Council has enriched the lives of our community for 50 years’. 

“This tree, like the oak on our shield, represents the strength and resilience that have been the hallmarks of our District,” said Cllr Clarke.

“As this sapling takes root, it embodies the growth and prosperity that we have nurtured together. It will stand as a living monument to our past, a beacon of hope for our present, and a seed of potential for our future.

“Let this tree planting be a gesture of our commitment to the environment and to the people of North Kesteven. May this oak grow tall and strong, mirroring the steadfastness of our Council, and may it serve as a reminder of the rich heritage and the fertile future that lie ahead.

As we celebrate this golden anniversary, let us reflect on our past achievements, appreciate our current endeavours, and look forward with anticipation to the opportunities that lie ahead. May this tree grow and prosper, just as our Council and community shall, for many years to come.”

Cllr Clarke was joined by North Hykeham Town Mayor, Chief Executive of North Kesteven District Council Ian Fytche and District Council Deputy Leader at the short ceremony. 

Countryside NK contract partners Hill Holt Wood confirmed that an oak tree can support some 2,300 species, 239 of which are wholly dependent on it.

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