Chelsea pensioner Walter Swan took part in a tree-planting ceremony at the Woodland Trust’s Brackfield Wood, in the Faughan Valley, in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the First World War.
Part of the Trust’s Centenary Woods project, Brackfield is one of just four flagship woods taking shape across the UK to commemorate the 100th anniversary.
In total, millions of trees will be planted in remembrance of the millions of lives lost and affected.
Scout groups, including 1st Castlerock Scouts, lined both sides of the pathway to welcome the scarlet-coated veteran, before making their own tree-planting mark.
Still in its infancy, Brackfield Wood will be home to 40,000 native trees, with swathes of wildflowers, including the iconic poppy.
Patrick Cregg is the Woodland Trust’s director and says: “It’s an unforgettable morning, in the run up to Remembrance Sunday, with both young and old making a poignant contribution through the simple act of tree planting.
“The trees planted here will be a peaceful, flourishing and lasting tribute to everyone right across the island of Ireland who played a part in the war. It’s estimated that as many as 40,000 lost their lives, with countless others affected.
“In contrast to the sadness and destruction, Brackfield Wood, by the banks of the River Faughan, will be a beautiful place of remembrance. And with plans to link the neighbouring pockets of woodland, we want to create a safe haven for the valley’s precious wildlife. ”
The First World War Centenary Woods project is supported by the Trust’s lead partner Sainsbury’s.