THE Lord Lieutenant of East Susssex was in Winchelsea on Saturday to plant a tree to commemorate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Year.
It was a rainy but busy day for the historic town with a Christmas Fair taking place at the New Hall to coincide with the event.
The Lord Lieutenant Peter Field, and his wife, were joined by Winchelsea Mayor Roger Neaves and Rye MP Amber Rudd and accepted an invitation by Winchelsea Corporation to inspect one of the historic cellars of the town and draw the raffle prizes at the Fair.
The joint hosts of the celebrations were Winchelsea Corporation and the National Trust. The first stop was a visit to the NT’s Salutation Cottage cellars built over 700 years ago.
Following a wet walk from the Salutation cellar to the New Hall the visitors enjoyed a cup of tea and mince pies at the annual Xmas Fair at which the Lord Lieutenant drew the raffle prizes.
The highlight of the morning, which was the culmination of the extensive Jubilee celebrations in Winchelsea, was the tree planting ceremony.
After short speeches by the Mayor and NT Assistant Director Nic Durston, the Lord Lieutenant said words of thanks and then planted the Field Maple The Mayor’s Chaplain David Page blessed the tree in a final prayer which closed the ceremony.
A Field Maple was chosen by local National Trust staff as it is a native species and the location was agreed; near to the Chestnut planted to commemorate the Queen’s wedding to Prince Phillip in 1947 and overlooking the Brede valley, much of which is under the management of the National Trust.
For the tree planting the Lord Lieutenant used the special spade first used by Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother when, in 1988, she planted a commemorative Chestnut tree in the churchyard celebrating the town’s 700th anniversary of its founding. The NT funded the project.