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A Natural Health Service for Captain Sir Tom

Darren Moorcroft, CEO of the Woodland Trust, talks about the wonderful new scheme 'Trees for Tom', planting trees across the UK and eight other countries in memory of the much-loved Captain Sir Tom Moore.

March 2021

A month ago the Woodland Trust was approached by one of the daughters of Captain Sir Tom Moore as to whether we would be the UK recipient of donations for a project that she wanted to set up for her late father. Captain Sir Tom Moore was an inspiration for many during the unprecedented challenges of 2020 with his message of hope for a brighter tomorrow. To say we were honoured to be chosen for the Trees for Tom initiative was an understatement.

I myself couldn’t think of a more fitting way to celebrate the life of someone as inspiring as Captain Sir Tom. Creating woods and planting trees as a lasting legacy, expanding our natural heritage and safeguarding its future for our children in the face of a combined climate and nature crisis, truly will deliver on his motto.

Trees for Tom is a collaboration between two leading environmental charities: The Woodland Trust in the UK and global reforestation charity Between us and TreeSisters, we will be able to plant trees both locally in the UK and in eight other countries around the world.

Planting trees is a popular, engaging and really powerful way, to commemorate major life events. You may have done it yourself - I know I have. An oak tree to celebrate the birth of my children. Fruit trees to commemorate the passing of my mother and grandmother. It’s a very personal act but with very real societal benefits. And it is always a privilege for the Trust to play this role in different ways for so many people, through woodland dedications or legacies. We hope to create a permanent memorial wood for Tom in his home county of Yorkshire.

What I find truly amazing is how much one person can make a big difference, and as Captain Sir Tom proved, no matter how old you are. Having raised such a huge amount of money for the National Health Service, the donations given in his memory hit an incredible £100,000 in just days for what we call the Natural Health Service. Not only will this help tackle the climate and nature crises, but it will go towards improving the health of the nation again, creating a Natural Health Service for generations.

The trees and woods created will provide cleaner air, suck carbon out the atmosphere, create homes for wildlife to flourish and enrich people’s health & well-being. The actions of our ancestors created the places which have been sanctuary for so many during the national lockdowns we are living through. Now is our time to protect those and create more. Captain Tom’s ambitions to create a brighter future aligns perfectly with our own aims of establishing 50 million trees in the next 5 years.

The state of nature is in all our hands. We have the ability to shape a better future if we make the conscious choice to act. Large conservation organisations like the Woodland Trust will do our part, mobilising time, money and voice to help build a UK rich in nature. But if the legacy of Captain Sir Tom teaches us anything, it is the power of the individual. You have the potential to do something amazing too – help save the nature that underpins everything we do. You’ll feel better for it, and so will the planet.

To donate to plant a tree in memory of Captain Sir Tom Moore, visit:
The Woodland Trust or TreeSisters

Darren Moorcroft, is CEO of the Woodland Trust

Follow @WT_Darren and @WoodlandTrust

The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.