New Trees for Stonefield Public Park

Stonefield Public Park in Blantyre is one of 13 parks throughout Lanarkshire which will receive hundreds of new trees to be planted as a memorial to Covid-19 victims.

Under the plan, a fruit tree would be planted in memory of every local person who lost their lives in the pandemic, at 13 of the most popular parks in the area.

Local community groups will be encouraged to be involved in the planting and care of the trees, including the harvesting of crops in future years as part of South Lanarkshire Council’s commitment to food growing.

Council Leader John Ross said: “The pandemic has been tough for everyone, but obviously the worst aspect has been the loss of so many lives.

“Here in South Lanarkshire alone there had been 798 Covid-19 registered deaths by 19 July, and unfortunately that sad toll will have risen since then and will continue to rise.

“In looking for fitting ways to commemorate those deaths, we thought that one way would be to create a living memorial, in the shape of a tree planted to mark every person who sadly lost their lives in South Lanarkshire because of the virus.

“There are likely to be other Covid-19 memorials in the future, but I hope these trees become a place where people can go to pause for reflection and mark their respects for many years and decades to come.”

On Wednesday 25 August the Climate Change and Sustainability Committee will be asked to approve the plans to plant an estimated 62 trees at each of 13 locations.

These are: Overtoun Park in Rutherglen; Cambuslang Park; Stonefield Park in Blantyre; Bothwell Road Park and Chatelherault Country Park in Hamilton; Town Centre Park, James Hamilton Heritage Park and Calderglen Country Park, in East Kilbride; Alexander Hamilton Memorial Park in Stonehouse; Strathaven Park; Biggar Public Park; and at Lanark Loch.

If approved, the plan will be funded through the council’s Food Strategy. Trees will not be marked with individual names but will instead represent the community’s loss as a whole.

In addition to linking into the Food Strategy, the plan would also improve biodiversity, the amount of tree canopy in the area, and carbon removal. Local community groups at each of the 13 locations will be invited to help with planting arrangements and making use of fruit crops.

Discussions will also be held around how local schools and social work clients can get involved in management of the sites and how the fruit is used.

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