Dacorum village plants Tree of Hope to mark the coronavirus pandemic

Residents have left decorations in tribute or memory of a loved one

Thursday, 10th December 2020, 4:44 pm
The vicar and churchwarden with children and headmistress from Great Gaddesden School (C) Sally Masson Photography

A ‘Tree of Hope’ has been planted in the churchyard of the village of Great Gaddesden, near Hemel Hempstead, to mark the pandemic, and provide the wider community with an uplifting focal point in the lead-up to Christmas.

The Norway spruce was planted by the porch of St John the Baptist in November, and hung with lights.

The local community were then invited to leave decorations in the church porch - in tribute or memory of a loved one if desired - along with a note which could be displayed in the church for others to read.

Children from Great Gaddesden School (C) Sally Masson Photography

So far almost 50 decorations have been left by local residents, with notes ranging from wishing those in the area a happy and healthy Christmas to commemorating lost family members who would be missed over the festive period.

Churchwarden Jo Connell, who developed the idea with her fellow churchwarden Peter King, said: "In these times of difficulty we felt that we wanted to create something uplifting, and also long-lasting for the area.

"The tree has been permanently planted and will provide enjoyment all year round in its natural form.

"Our hope is then to revisit the decorating initiative each December, providing a place where people can come and celebrate their community, remember loved ones, and mark the lead-up to Christmas."

Messages left inside the church by some of the visitors who had added decorations to the tree (C) Sally Masson Photography

Decorations and messages are invited to be left at the church until Christmas Eve (December 24), and will remain on display until the 12th Night (January 6).

For more information, or to support St John the Baptist church, visit www.greatgaddesdenchurch.com.

The vicar and churchwarden (C) Sally Masson Photography
Messages left inside the church by some of the visitors who had added decorations to the tree (C) Sally Masson Photography
Pupil from Great Gaddesden School (C) Sally Masson Photography
Pupil from Great Gaddesden School (C) Sally Masson Photography
Messages left inside the church by some of the visitors who had added decorations to the tree (C) Sally Masson Photography
Pupil from Great Gaddesden School (C) Sally Masson Photography