Blakenall Heath resident Graham Morris (left) and Andy Stokes of the Staffordshire Regiment Regimental Association prepare for the unveiling.

Blakenall Heath Peace Tree plaque and stone unveiled

Blakenall Heath resident Graham Morris (left) and Andy Stokes of the Staffordshire Regiment Regimental Association prepare for the unveiling.
Blakenall Heath resident Graham Morris (left) and Andy Stokes of the Staffordshire Regiment Regimental Association prepare for the unveiling.

A plaque and stone explaining the history behind a symbol of peace in Blakenall Heath was officially unveiled during a well-attended service of Remembrance last Friday.

The plate was attached to a new memorial stone which has been set up next to the Peace Tree on The Green, Blakenall Heath, on 9 November at 10.30am.

The Peace Tree plaque, which is now fixed to the Jubilee Stone.
The Peace Tree plaque, which is now fixed to the Jubilee Stone.

The tree has grown massively since being planted on Saturday 19 July 1919 at 10am by local Councillor Matthew J. Somerfield (after whom Somerfield Road, Bloxwich is named) in a ceremony to commemorate the end of the Great War of 1914-1918 as part of borough-wide peace celebrations.

Planting of the Blakenall Heath Peace Tree, 1919 (Walsall Local History Centre).
Planting of the Blakenall Heath Peace Tree, 1919 (Walsall Local History Centre).

It now shades what has itself become a place of peaceful contemplation beneath its leaves.

The Blakenall Heath Peace Tree and Jubilee Stone today.
The Blakenall Heath Peace Tree and Jubilee Stone today.

Peace trees were also planted simultaneously in Palfrey, Pleck and Reedswood parks followed by a special planting in Bloxwich Park at 3pm, as part of an extensive programme of Peace Celebrations over two days.

At Blakenall Heath in 1919, the Chairman of the ceremony was Councillor W. C. Ward, and votes of thanks were proposed by Alderman C.C. Walker and seconded by Councillor W. J. Talbot.

Revd Paul Myers of Christ Church, Blakenall Heath leads the dedication service.
Revd Paul Myers of Christ Church, Blakenall Heath leads the dedication service.

Last Friday’s service was conducted in the open air around the Peace Tree by the Revd Paul Myers of nearby Christ Church, Blakenall Heath and included a two-minute silence as well as a reading and The Lord’s Prayer.  Tom Perrett, MBE, Chairman of New Horizons Community Enterprise, also spoke.

Local veterans Graham Morris, Andy Stokes, Terry Johnson, Tom Johnson, Pete Humpage and Andy Singer stand beneath the Peace Tree (l to r).
Local veterans Graham Morris, Andy Stokes, Terry Johnson, Tom Johnson, Pete Humpage and Andy Singer stand beneath the Peace Tree (l to r).

As well as local veterans and a representative of the Staffordshire Regiment Regimental Association, plus the organisers, youngsters from local schools and members of the public were there in large numbers.

Just part of the crowds attending.
Just part of the crowds attending.

The stone was donated by Blakenall-based landscapers Arry’s Ground Force and was placed three weeks ago.  Members of New Horizons Community Enterprise, local residents, veterans, councillors and clergymen are behind the scheme.

The peace tree is a lasting memorial for those who have laid down their lives in defence of our country and for peace.  It is important that local people and visitors know the origins of the tree, and what it symbolises, hence the provision of the new plaque.

All pictures by Stuart Williams.

A FLICKR PHOTO ALBUM of many more photos of this event is available for download via this link.

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