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Commemorative plaque unveiled at Cooper Park in Elgin by the Earl and Countess of Wessex

The Earl and Countess of Wessex alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Moray Seymour Monro and Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Andrew Simpson unveiling the commemorative plaque. Picture by Jason Hedges.
The Earl and Countess of Wessex alongside the Lord Lieutenant of Moray Seymour Monro and Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire Andrew Simpson unveiling the commemorative plaque. Picture by Jason Hedges.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Cooper Park in Elgin to unveil a commemorative plaque to the Queen’s Green Canopy project.

The couple, known as the Earl and Countess of Forfar when they are in Scotland, were celebrating the project that began back in May 2021 in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Moray has been named as being particularly proactive in the project by planting trees across the area as a “special gift” to the Queen.

Towns and cities across the UK have been planting areas with native tree cover to combat the effects of climate change.

Prince Edward and wife Sophie were accompanied by Moray officials including the lord lieutenants for Moray and Banffshire and the Earl of Moray to unveil the plaque.

The Earl and Countess of Forfar speaking with the Lord Lieutenant of Banffshire, Andrew Simpson. Picture by Jason Hedges.

The royal couple then took time to speak to 22 children who took part in the junior forester award, for which each pupil received a special Platinum Jubilee Royal Mint coin.

10-year-old Ruth Taylor, a primary 5-6 pupil from Seafield Primary School was excited to meet royalty and lined up to meet the earl and countess.

After presenting the countess with flowers in Seafield primary colours, she said: “It’s really special because I’ve never had anything like this before.

“To get the award, we had to do certain things like spend time in the woods to get it.

The Countess of Forfar spoke with children from Seafield Primary School who completed their Junior Forester Award, initially set up by the Countess. Picture by Jason Hedges.

“I was planting the trees with my friend, who I had a argument with, but doing it brought us back together. So we call it the Tree of Friendship.”

Teacher Sarah Travis said she was keen her class experienced the outdoors, by doing the junior forester award.

She said: “I took my class for three weeks, for three sessions up into the woods and we worked through our junior forester’s award.

Primary 5-6 teacher Sarah Travis with her class with their junior forester awards. Picture by Jason Hedges.

“The children gained an appreciation for the woods that are close to us. We were able to plant 15 trees in our school grounds so the kids can nurture them and watch them grow and give back to our environment.”

The children were also educated on the importance a forester plays in protecting the environment helping keep plants and animals safe.

It also gives the children a sense of ownership.

The Vice-Chair of The Queen’s Green Canopy committee, Rebecca Russell DL, said it was an honour to welcome The Earl and Countess to recognise the tree-planting efforts in the area.

“Across all of Moray and Banffshire we have seen numerous local schools, businesses, and community groups plant trees to mark The Queen’s remarkable 70 years on the throne.

“All those who have played a part in The Queen’s Green Canopy project should be incredibly proud of all they have achieved.

“And it’s not too late to participate – you can do so during the planting season between October 2022 and April 2023.”

Prince Edward was pleased with his gift presented by the pupils of Seafield Primary School. Picture by Jason Hedges.

Earlier in the day the royal couple visited Gordonstoun School where 125 pupils were presented with their Moray Badge.

The badge was established to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and to encourage young people to get active, enjoy nature and be creative after lockdown.

Prince Edward, himself a former Gordonstoun pupil, said: “I’m impressed by the sheer number of schools and young people involved.

“It is a great way to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee. I hope that it encourages you all to go on and do other exciting things and to use these experiences to make the most of the opportunities that are out there.”

The Countess of Forfar was intrigued by what the Seafield pupils had to do to achieve the Junior Forester award. Picture by Jason Hedges.

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