Copy of newsletter received by Ian Harvey 16 May 21

Good morning,  

Today we mark twenty years since the National Memorial Arboretum was officially opened by HRH The Duchess of Kent.   We are celebrating all that has been achieved in transforming what was a muddy field into the Arboretum that we know and love, with almost 400 memorials nestled among the maturing trees with their stories waiting to be discovered by our many visitors.   Nothing happens without great people and that is certainly true of the Arboretum. From our visionary founders and those who worked with them in our early days, to everyone involved with nurturing, sharing and shaping the site today, everyone has made an important contribution to the growth of the Arboretum.

We’ve captured the stories of some of the people involved on our journey in our online exhibition The Arboretum at 20 and in a series of videos featuring words from our founder and some of the people to whom the Arboretum is so special. I hope you will enjoy  watching the videos, exploring the exhibition and perhaps reflecting on your part in our success. Thank you for being part of our evolving story.   We are proud to be the Nation’s year round place to Remember, an inspirational world-class setting freely open to all. In this our anniversary year we are setting out our bold plans for the future and have committed to three pledges which will support our ambitions. You can find out more about our pledges to continue to engage people in Remembrance, to advocate for sustainable practices and to nurture a place that is inclusive and accessible to all here.  

On our anniversary we are pleased to announce that together with the National Forest Company, we plan to create a 25-acre woodland in memory of everyone who has lost their life as a result of the pandemic.  The landscape will feature diverse wildlife habitats and will incorporate reflective glades, areas for gathering and play, an inclusive space for worship, and an expansive lake, providing a space for contemplation while evoking hope for the future. Groundworks for the new memorial woodland are planned to begin in early 2022, and it is hoped that public access to the woodland will begin in 2023. Read the full announcement here.  

The Arboretum has been open for pre-booked visitors since June, providing people with a safe place to be, to breathe in the fresh air, to commemorate lives lost and to celebrate lives lived.   Once again thank you for being part of the Arboretum community, I do hope that you have the opportunity to visit us again in the coming months.
  Philippa Rawlinson
Managing Director