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Women plant 420 trees to help environment at open space in Tovil


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Members of the Maidstone and Medway branch of Soroptimist International were in Tovil to plant 420 trees on the Hudson's Quarry open space near the River Medway.

On a cold and foggy morning last Saturday, the ladies set to work with forks and spades and a little assistance from the Mayor of Maidstone, Cllr Fay Gooch, and her Deputy Mayor, Cllr Derek Mortimer, whose ward includes Tovil.

Maidstone and Medway Soroptimists Club plant trees at the Bridgemill Way Recreation area in Tovil with the help of the Mayor, Cllr Fay Gooch (54365842)
Maidstone and Medway Soroptimists Club plant trees at the Bridgemill Way Recreation area in Tovil with the help of the Mayor, Cllr Fay Gooch (54365842)

The 420 trees were provided by the Kent Woodland Trust and were a selection of native species including hawthorn, rowan, blackthorn, silver birch, hazel and common oak.

The council's parks' officer Andy Jesson, who provided planting advice, said: "They will grow at different rates and collectively, when in time they become a small forest, will provide habitat, shade and food sources for wildlife, as well as improving air quality.

"They will also beautify the landscape and, of course, all of these benefits go hand in hand with enhancing our mental wellbeing. So, all in all, a job well done.”

Hudson's Quarry is a former landfill site, well used by dog walkers.

The Mayor said: "It was a real privilege to be invited to plant the first one."

Soroptimists International is an organisation founded to help improve the rights, status and opportunities for women and girls to achieve their best, they also involve themselves in many other issues - the environment being one.

The Mayor, Fay Gooch, with the South East Regional President of the Soroptimists, Yvonne Freeman, left, and Sharon Forghani, right
The Mayor, Fay Gooch, with the South East Regional President of the Soroptimists, Yvonne Freeman, left, and Sharon Forghani, right

The organisation world-wide planted 75,000 trees last year.

The Medway and Maidstone branch is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year are marking the event with a number of projects which can be calculated in multiples of 75.

These projects include writing cards of support to lonely women in open prisons; raising £750 for Alzheimers; donating £750 to Lend with Care and providing and filling 75 back packs with all the items necessary to enable children in Malawi to attend school.

Spokesman Wanda Wright said: "As always with Soroptimist events, it felt great to be part of this team effort.

"It is really satisfying that, quite apart from helping to combat climate change, we’ve left a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy.”

Maidstone and Medway Soroptimists Club plant trees at the Bridgemill Way Recreation area in Tovil with the help of the Mayor, Cllr Fay Gooch (54365832)
Maidstone and Medway Soroptimists Club plant trees at the Bridgemill Way Recreation area in Tovil with the help of the Mayor, Cllr Fay Gooch (54365832)

The event was organised by local member Sharon Forghani.

To find out more about the group, visit here.

*Maidstone council is looking for landowners to help with its ambitious tree-planting project.

Anyone with an acre of land to spare is asked to get in touch.

Cllr Steve Munford (Ind) urged landowners: "Do something for the environment and the world."

Cllr Steve Munford
Cllr Steve Munford

The council is looking to partner with landowners to plant trees on their land in order to increase biodiversity, combat climate change and to help the borough reduce its carbon footprint.

Cllr Munford said: "I feel passionately that we need to protect our planet and by creating new woodland areas, we can go some small way to doing this.”

The council’s Biodiversity and Climate Change Action Plan will see it subsidise or match-fund landowners who plant more trees.

Visit here for details.

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