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Royal Deeside sheltered housing tenants in Ballater plant tree for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The tree planting ceremony was led by Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie and tenant Kitty Milne. Picture by Chris Sumner.
The tree planting ceremony was led by Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie and tenant Kitty Milne. Picture by Chris Sumner.

The deputy lieutenant of Aberdeenshire joined tenants and staff of Sluiemohr Sheltered Housing to plant a tree honouring Her Majesty the Queen.

Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie visited the sheltered housing complex in Ballater on Wednesday morning to plant a tree as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.

The scheme invites people all over the UK to “plant a tree for the jubilee” to mark Her Majesty’s 70 years on the throne.

He was joined by Sluiemohr tenant Kitty Milne, who has met the Queen many times when she lived near Balmoral and possesses letters and photographs of herself with Her Majesty.

Kitty Milne assisted Mr MacKenzie with the planting at the sheltered housing complex. Picture by Chris Sumner.

Mr MacKenzie explained the initiative marked the Jubilee but was also aimed at doing something “worthwhile” by planting trees.

He said: “A number of sheltered housing has had trees planted, and this is one that is really close to Balmoral and was a really nice occasion.

“It was particularly appropriate that Kitty did the planting and I’m sure she found it quite special too.

“I think it’s in a prominent place in the community where people will be able to go past it and remember that occasion and the fact it is a pretty extraordinary anniversary of the Queen’s reign.

“Hopefully the tree will survive and do well.”

Many tenants lived through ‘key moments’ of Queen’s reign

Aberdeenshire Council’s sheltered housing manager Kate MacDonald was at the ceremony, alongside the council’s sheltered housing activities coordinator Maria Ponte.

Ms MacDonald said it was an honour to welcome Mr MacKenzie to Sluiemohr Sheltered Housing.

She added: “The tenants were really excited about this special event, many of them having lived through the key moments of Her Majesty’s reign.

“The trees planted will not only act as a symbol of The Queen’s enduring reign but will also be a special place for our tenants to enjoy nature as well as reflecting on this historic occasion.”

On February 6, the Queen marked her platinum jubilee as monarch. The country will celebrate with a four-day Bank Holiday weekend from June 2 to 5.

More than one million Jubilee trees have been planted in the Queen’s name since the initiative began last autumn.

Den Wood reopened

Meanwhile, Woodland Trust Scotland reopened an Aberdeenshire site that has been closed since Storm Arwen in November.

Around 350 trees were blown over in the storm, most of them landing on and damaging paths.

Woodland Trust Scotland spokesman George Anderson said: “It has taken quite a while to progress our clean-up. As many other woods in the vicinity were similarly hit, contractors able to do the work were in very high demand.”

Considerable work has been carried out to make the wood safe for the public once again. Two sections of the footpath remain closed with diversions, however, it is hoped these will be reopened by the end of the year.

The Trust intends to plant 2000 native saplings in areas of Den cleared by the storm.

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