On Wednesday, 17th April, Penrith Remembers Group will plant an English oak tree in the grounds of Castle Park to commemorate the end of the First World War a century ago. It will be known as the Armistice Oak, Rory Stewart MP, president of Penrith Remembers, said today.
Penrith Remembers is a voluntary body formed in 2014 to organise a programme of war remembrance events in association with local authorities, voluntary groups, individuals and businesses in the town.
At a public ceremony at the park bandstand (starting 2pm) a sapling Quercus Robur English oak will be planted by Ann Risman, founder of Penrith Remembers, and then dedicated by Canon David Sergant.
The Armistice Oak will be positioned between two other mature memorial trees — the Verdun Oak planted at the opening of the Castle Park on Empire Day, 24th May, 1923, and what is believed to be the Festive Oak, which marked the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Verdun Oak is reportedly linked to symbolic acorns brought to England from the First World War battlefield in France.
Centenary events have already taken place over the last four years. Examples include a memorial stone in the Castle Park for a Glassonby-born Australian VC soldier, two books of war memories, talks, exhibitions, concerts, excursions and a performance by Penrith Players.
With help from the Heritage Lottery and Cumbria County Library, the co-chairman of Penrith Remembers’, Richard Preston, and a small team of volunteers have compiled a public historic reference of the 200 local military who lost their lives and are named at the Castle Park’s memorial gateway arch. Richard is staging an exhibition in the gateway on the afternoon of the oak planting.
Rory Stewart, MP for Penrith and the Border, said: “A great deal of interest has been shown
nationally in what is happening in Penrith.
“The Armistice Oak is a life-affirming symbol, a living legend and one we will use to remember
those who have fallen, the injured and those left behind.”