Family pleas for memory tree in honour of Private Aaron McClure to be saved ahead of Rushmere development
- Credit: Archant
The family of an Ipswich soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2007 are joining a growing campaign against a development which could see a tree planted in his memory lost.
Aaron McClure was 19 and a Private with B-company, 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, when he was killed by friendly fire in Helmand Province on August 23, 2007.
But now a tree planted in his memory, on land used as a nature reserve adjacent to 155 The Street, Rushmere St Andrew, could be lost to make way for a 14-home development on the site.
Pte McClure’s mum, Lorraine McClure, said this week: “Many years of work have been put in by many people preserving trees planted here, many in memory of a loved one. Aaron’s memory tree has been carefully looked after and has grown into a beautiful copper beech tree.
“It would be a devastating shame to see this young tree bulldozed as if it meant nothing, and I am sure other families will feel the same. Let’s hope the right decision is made and the trees are preserved.”
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Other memory trees planted at the site include for the parents of nearby resident Bruce Gowdey, and local boy Jarrod Potter who was killed in a car crash.
It is understood that a number of trees were also provided for planting at the site by the EADT in 1999 as part of a scheme to help Suffolk-based charities to commemorate the turn of the millennium.
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The development, proposed by a consortium of charities represented by Withers Trust Corporation Limited (Witco), was granted planning permission on appeal earlier this year.
Save Our Rushmere’s Rural Identity, Save Our County Spaces and other groups have launched a crowdfunding appeal to help fund their case, to be heard in the High Court in January, and must raise £10,000 by September 10. So far, they have raised £5,000.
Chairman of the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion, Robin Vickery, said: “What a pity it would be to lose so many beautiful trees and particularly this superb copper beech tree which is such an appropriate living memorial to Aaron McClure.”
Witco has said it will make every effort to preserve Aaron’s tree and those planted in memory of others and is urging concerned parties to get in touch.
A spokesman said: “Witco would like to find a constructive way of ensuring this tree is not harmed. While this field has always been private land, Witco would like to explore ways to protect any trees planted with a memorial element. The Suffolk District Council arboricultural report, which highlights the planting of trees too close together, means that some active management is inevitable.”
Anyone with concerns should write to Paul Hewitt, Witco, 16 Old Bailey, London, EC4M 7EG with details of the tree in question and their contact details.