The Re-dedication of Cobham Cherry Tree Avenue of Remembrance draws the crowds despite the weather.
The Cobham community came together on Sunday 8 April to re-dedicate the Cherry Tree Avenue of Remembrance on Tilt Common, in memory of the 46 local members of the armed forces who lost their lives during WWII.
The ceremony, held in the presence of the Mayor of Elmbridge (Councillor Mrs Rachel Lake) was attended by almost 200 people whose spirits were not dampened by the somewhat soggy conditions. A true demonstration of the importance and respect the Avenue of Remembrance is held in by the local community. In a remarkable coincidence the weather at the original dedication ceremony in 1946 was apparently also wet a veteran attending the event commented.
The ceremony, was the culmination of several months of productive collaboration between local community groups and Elmbridge Borough Council who provided the finance to re-establish the avenue as one of the most valued green spaces in the local area. The groups involved in the project were:
- Cobham Cedar Club Women’s Institute,
- Royal British Legion Cobham Branch,
- Cobham Conservation and Heritage Trust,
- Cobham and Downside Residents Association,
- Stoke d’Abernon Residents Association,
- St Andrew’s Church Cobham and other churches in the area.
The much-loved memorial was created and dedicated in 1946 by the Cobham Women’s Institute who planted the 46 original cherry trees. Over the last 70 years the avenue had lost its impact, due to some trees becoming diseased, and replacement trees not thriving. A consultation carried out with Cobham and Stoke d’Abernon community in September 2017 highlighted a wish to restore the avenue to its former glory.
New cherry trees were planted in February and two months on, the new cherry trees are a wonderful sight. It is truly a new beginning for this much-admired landmark after so many years of decline and it has a bright future ahead, with enough time to mature to reach its peak for the WWII centenary commemorations in 2039-2045.
Local schools will be involved on 24 April when a poppy meadow grass mix will be sown around the trees and the final activity will be replacing the plaques for each tree with the name of each service person commemorated.
This project demonstrates the dedication and commitment of local organisations to maintain and preserve their environment for the generations to come.