We are an accountancy practice based in Braintree and Maldon and in addition to our professional support to businesses and taxpayers we like to be involved with and support local charities and local communities.

We also want to do something that reduces our carbon footprint.

One of my Partners, Nick Forsyth, had come up with the idea of combining some of our non business activities and hit upon the idea of planting trees.  They look good, they last a long time, they can benefit the local community now as well as into the future and they help offset our carbon footprint.  With that in mind and the opportunity to be part of Gestingthorpe’s special events to mark the Centenary of the death of the ‘very gallant gentleman’ Captain Lawrence Oates we offered to buy one oak sapling for every year of his life to be planted in the village.

Captain Oates died on his 32nd birthday.

Some villagers in Gestingthorpe set up a Committee to put on special events during 2012 and the three members Tony, Terry and Wendy worked long and hard to put on a talk to a packed audience in the Church on Captain Oates’ life, a Church Service that was attended by dignitaries, military from the Inniskilling Dragoons (with whom Captain Oates served), an exhibition of the village history using artefacts and photographs plus references to and information on Captain Oates and for the season of events for the year to be rounded off by the planting of the Oates Memorial Avenue in Delvyns Lane.  Delvyns Lane is an old drover’s lane so has high banks on either side.

Terry liaised with the two farmers, Mark and Robert, whose fields run alongside Delvyns Lane.  Mark and Robert kindly gave permission for the trees to be planted along the banks of the lane.  The trees could only be planted once they had started to drop their leaves for the winter.  This happened quite late this year. Tony, Terry and Wendy thought it would make the Oates Memorial Avenue even more special if the trees were planted by villagers so they asked all of us if we wanted to adopt and plant a tree on Saturday 17th November.

Nigel and Chris with a tree

The tree planting is where we at Lambert Chapman LLP came in.  We bought 30 trees from King & Co, Tree Nursery Ltd, in Rayne.  Why only 30?  The other 2 trees are special as they were provided by and planted by Muriel, a direct descendant of Captain Oates and Gill who is related by her marriage to Muriel’s brother.

Terry and I had each telephoned Gary of King & Co some weeks before for his expert advice on the height of the trees, their layout and the planting and protection so all I then needed to do was collect them.  I turned up at King & Co on Friday 16th in my Volvo estate opened the tailgate and saw them, the stakes and deer protectors nearly fill the car.

The next day I parked at the end of the lane and was delighted to see lots of people turning up eager to adopt and plant their tree.  I opened the tailgate and out came the trees minus quite a few leaves that had dropped off during their journey.  A good vacuum of the car was clearly needed but that would be tomorrow; we had important things to do before then.  Tony, Terry, Mark, Matt and I had a hectic time handing out trees, stakes, deer protectors, pipe and string.  Sandra and Ben showed people to the allocated holes for the trees and them along with Matt and Terry helped with the planting.

Matt had worked hard over the previous few days digging 32 large holes at 10 metre intervals and has offered to look after the trees by watering them and making sure they stay tied up and protected over the next 12 months.  The first season is very important for new trees and Matt’s work will prove invaluable.

Everyone who came along was invited to the village hall where Wendy and Marilyn gave out tea and homemade cakes kindly provided by Sandra, Emma, Suzanne, Mary and Wendy.

After a couple of hours the tree planters, by now muddy, had completed their task and the Oates Memorial Avenue was left to grow to be enjoyed by us and future generations. A lasting tribute to the ‘very gallant gentleman’ Captain Lawrence Oates.


Posted by Chris Harman

The views expressed in this article are the personal views of the Author and other professionals may express different views. They may not be the views of Lambert Chapman LLP. The material in the article cannot and should not be considered as exhaustive. Professional advice should be sought in connection with any of the issues contained in the article and the implementation of any actions.

Lambert Chapman Chartered Accountants

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