On a crisp, chilly, bright December morning, residents gathered in the grounds of Whitgift House to pay their respects to those who lost their lives in the First World War by planting a memorial tree.
The ceremony was given by resident and former Army Chaplain, The Reverend George Parsons, who paid homage to “all who made the supreme sacrifice”, before Martin Corney, CEO of The Whitgift Foundation, stepped in to plant the tree, a red acer.
It was George who first had the idea of planting a memorial tree at Whitgift House. Having served as an Army Commando in the Second World War and later as a Chaplain in the army, he had travelled to many memorials around Europe. He felt that in 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the war, it was a fitting tribute to those soldiers who died in the conflict.
Philomena Kavanagh, Care Manager at Whitgift house, agreed: “It is very important to mark such significant events in our history, our residents felt that we should have something positive and what better than a living tree. Having George lead the project was made all the more poignant because of his career as an Army Chaplain.”
For our residents, many of whom grew up in the shadow of the war and had friends and loved ones who directly experienced it, the tree now stands in the gardens of Whitgift House as a permanent, meaningful memorial.