Council cherry tree ceremonies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2016
Children from Mereside Church of England Primary School in Shrewsbury will be lighting a candle to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on Wednesday 27 January 2016.
The candle will be lit at the first Shropshire Holocaust Memorial Tree, planted there with Shropshire Council in 2015.
Mark Michaels of the Jewish faith community and Imam Sohayb Peerbhai of the Muslim faith community will be joining in a short interfaith service with the children, along with council officers and Shropshire Councillor Jane Mackenzie, at around 9.30am. The children will also measure the cherry tree to see how much it has grown under their care.
A second Holocaust Memorial Tree will then be planted with Woodside Academy pupils in a further interfaith service of commemoration at their school in Oswestry, at around 11.30am.
Councillor Vince Hunt will be taking part as local councillor and sharing his perspective on how the planting of such a tree links in with the overall efforts of the council to protect and enhance the natural environment.
Like the first, it is a Black Oliver fruit cherry tree, native to the West Midlands, chosen in recognition of the importance of fruit trees to the Jewish faith and the symbolism of fruit trees in the Muslim and Christian faiths.
The services will mark this year’s national Holocaust Memorial theme, “Don’t Stand By”, with contributions from Mr Michaels and from Imam Peerbhai.
Councillor Mrs Cecilia Motley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for equalities, said:
“I wholeheartedly support the cherry tree planting ceremonies to mark Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January, and the way that this brings school children together with people from our faith communities to commemorate the Holocaust and other genocides. My hope would be that as we start to grow more trees across Shropshire now and in the years to come, the children themselves as they grow up will continue to remember the message of the Holocaust and to care for nature and for each other.”
Vince Hunt, Shropshire Councillor Oswestry West and school governor at Woodside Academy, said:
“I am very much looking forward to helping the pupils of Woodside Academy to plant this second Shropshire Holocaust Memorial Tree, where it will be a visible reminder of the theme “Don’t Stand By”. I have every confidence that the school will play its part in sharing with the pupils and their families why the Holocaust must never be forgotten.”
The council’s intention is that a third cherry tree will be planted in the south of the county next year, again from the Incredible Edible project for fruit trees that will contribute to a sustainable natural environment.
The council is committed to helping young people to understand the messages of the Holocaust in ways that are age appropriate and useful, and has therefore also arranged for circulation to all primary schools across the county of the learning resource developed by Mereside Primary School.
Further source material on the Holocaust and on the 2016 theme of “Don’t Stand By” is available from the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust website.
The trees have been sourced from “Tom the Apple Man”, whose nursery is in Weston Rhyn, north of Oswestry, and who is one of the approved suppliers through the Shropshire Incredible Edible project.