Oxbridge Cemetery is now home to more than 100 new saplings thanks to the entrepreneurial spirit of a year eight pupil from Bishopsgarth School, Stockton.
Jamie Jones, 12, of Fairfield, Stockton is an avid gardener and an enthusiastic member of the school's gardening club. While searching the internet in his free time Jamie saw the Woodland Trust were providing trees to community groups, schools and youth groups free of charge. He applied for one of the special packs and was successful.
The trees are part of the Woodland Trust's Jubilee Woods project to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Each pack contains a selection of hazel, blackthorn, crab apple, elder and dog rose trees plus a royal oak sapling.
After realising the school grounds were not large enough to support all the saplings about to arrive Jamie contacted Countryside Rangers at Stockton Council to see if a suitable home could be found. The rangers were happy to help, working with Jamie and other pupils from the gardening club to find a space in Oxbridge Cemetery. They were also on hand to help the group plant the saplings.
Jamie said: "I'm always looking for free seeds on websites and when I saw trees on offer I stepped in and ordered them straight away.
"The trees will improve the environment by making the area greener and once they start to grow they will provide food and nesting for birds and other wildlife.
"I love gardening and the gardening club at school is great because it has taught us how to save money by growing our own vegetables and fruit. We have lots of fun doing it and we never come back empty handed."
Councillor David Rose, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for the Environment, said: "Jamie is a real inspiration to people of all ages to get stuck in and help make the Borough greener. I'm pleased that Stockton Council's Countryside Rangers were able to organise a site for saplings and were able to join Jamie and other gardening club members on the day to dig the earth.
"The trees, which will provide attractive greenery in years to come, not only mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee but will act as a reminder of Jamie's kind donation to the local community."
Sue Cain, Headteacher of Bishopsgarth School, said: "We are very proud of Jamie - he is an excellent ambassador for our school. We encourage all our young people to recognise and develop their skills not only relevant to their learning but to the wider world. Jamie and other members of the Gardening Club certainly epitomise this in the way they have worked together to improve their own community.
"The planting of the trees to commemorate the historic event of the Queen’s Jubilee will be a memory that stays with these youngsters throughout their lives. They are making their mark on our community's history."