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Discover the hidden story behind the People’s Park cherry trees

2:30 pm, Thursday, 7th October 2021 - 3 years ago


North East Lincolnshire Council is planting a group of new trees in Grimsby’s People’s Park and Weelsby Woods later this month.

The trees are being planted after nine cherry trees had to be removed in May due to damage caused by a fungus.

It was upsetting for many park visitors when the trees were cut down, but their removal unearthed a fascinating family story that dates back almost 70 years.

The cherry trees were planted to celebrate the Queen’s Coronation in 1953.

Grimsby woman Pam Shreeve, 84, who lives near the park, helped plant the cherry trees with the Girls Life Brigade when she was 16 years old.

She met her husband Paul in People’s Park that same year and they still walk around it daily with their dog Gabi.

Pam and Paul Shreeve walking in People's Park
Pam and Paul Shreeve walking in People’s Park

Daughter Rachael, who now lives in Cumbria, said:

“We used to love walking around the park when the cherry trees were in full bloom. Mum would say, ‘I planted those trees’. It’s always been a family story.”

Rachael contacted ward councillor Debbie Woodward to ask for any leftover pieces of the wood from the cherry trees. Since then, Rachael has turned the wood into six bowls and a cross section showing the annual growth rings.

Rachael said:

“It’s so precious to us and means a lot to the family.”

Her husband Jon added:

You have just made a bowl, on a pole lathe, from wood from a tree your mum planted 68 years ago? That’s quite something.

The cherry wood bowls and a cross section
The cherry wood bowls and a cross section

The new trees, which include sweet chestnut, copper beech, pin oak and a red-twigged lime, will be planted during a ceremony in October along with more in Weelsby Woods. More cherry trees will be planted at a later date to replace those that were cut down.

There used to be a plaque with information about the cherry trees, but it disappeared some time ago.

If you have any photographs or recollections of the trees being planted in 1953, please get in touch by emailing [email protected].

 The Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire project is providing eight of the trees to celebrate the end of their three-and-a-half-year-long carbon-cutting drive for public buildings and area businesses.

Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire is a £8.5m programme that has been partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund to help support businesses to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.

Cllr Stewart Swinburn, portfolio holder for Environment and Transport at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:

“This is such a nice story and I’m pleased our grounds maintenance team could help when the trees had to be taken down.

“We never remove healthy trees and do our utmost to protect and preserve our trees, woodlands and natural habitats.

“Nine trees were removed in the spring and we will be planting 18 replacements this winter in People’s Park and Weelsby Woods.”

Pam points to the growth ring from when the tree was planted
Pam points to the growth ring from when the tree was planted

Cllr Woodward is having some of the wood made into a bird, with recycled silver cutlery used for its feet and wings. The bird is set to be auctioned next year to raise funds for Park Ward Together, a local residents’ group that supports activity within Park Ward.

Since the Easter weekend, the group has been running a pop-up café in the Bowling Pavilion and the intention is to donate some of these proceeds to the Council to support the purchase of more mature replacement trees.

Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire

Smart Energy Greater Lincolnshire is a £8.5m project being run by North East Lincolnshire Council on behalf of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP in partnership with the University of Applied Sciences Trier’s Institut fur angewandtes Stroffstrommanagement (IfaS). The aim is to boost renewable energy use in small to medium enterprises, council and other public sector owned buildings in the area. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) awarded £5.4m for the project, which started at the beginning of April 2018 and ends on 30th September 2021.  Along with private sector investment, the funding has been used to set-up a one-stop shop to provide energy and low carbon services for SMEs as well as facilitating large-scale investment in public infrastructure.

European Regional Development Fund

The project has received £5.4m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit

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