Plaque for heroes will help safeguard memorial trees

thisisoxfordshire: City councillor Mick Haines with some of the trees City councillor Mick Haines with some of the trees

A PLAQUE is to be installed at Marston’s memorial trees to help safeguard them for the future.

Four trees were planted around the area on Armistice Day in 1950 to commemorate those from Marston who died during the Second World War.

But there were fears last year that one of the trees, at the corner of Marston Road and Old Marston Road, would be cut down by Tesco as part of its plans to redevelop the old Friar pub as a store.

This was denied by the supermarket giant but renewed interest in the trees had sparked calls for them to be officially commemorated.

Oxford city councillor Mick Haines is set to install the plaque in Marston Road so the war heroes are never forgotten. Mr Haines said: “It will be brilliant for Marston to have this plaque.

“It will be in remembrance of those people from Marston who gave their lives and it will let people know the importance of these trees for the area.

“Having this plaque will stop people from trying to cut them down as well.”

The trees represent different branches of the Armed Forces.

One near Crotch Crescent was planted for those who died while serving in the Navy, while two more in Marston Road were planted for the Army and the Air Force.

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The final tree was planted at the corner of Old Marston Road and Marston Road for the Home Guard, also known as Dad’s Army.

Memorials in Marston’s churches list 13 men from the area who died during the Second World War.

Mr Haines will be using about £500 from his £1,500 council allowance, which can be spent on projects in his ward, on the plaque.

He said: “I have been talking to the Rev Elaine Bardwell at St Michael and All Angels Church and she is really keen to do a service when we put the plaque in. I would say in the next couple of weeks we will be on our way.”

Oxfordshire County Council has given the scheme the go-ahead and the city council has approved the money from his budget.

Roger Baycock, who runs saxophone shop Allegro Oxford in Marston Road, said: “I am all for the idea that this plaque should be there.

“It is important people remember what these trees mean.”

Planning permission for the Tesco store was granted last June by planning inspector Andrew Pykett, who said the effect of the store would be “limited” despite a local petition which gathered more than 4,400 signatures.

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