SCHOOL children are to make a tree-mendous tribute to the firefighters who tackled the summer moorland blazes.
Pupils at Millbrook Primary – one of the main schools affected by the fire – are to plant a tree in honour of all the firefighters who attended the incident.
The fire raged across the moorland over Stalybridge for over three weeks in June and July but it was successfully contained and put out – fortunately with no loss to life – thanks to the efforts of the emergency services and the armed forces.
As Millbrook Primary is a leading Forest School – being named in 2016 as the first school nationally to achieve the highest level Forest School Leadership Centre Award – it was decided that planting a tree in its outdoor classroom would be a fitting way to thank those involved.
The tree planting ceremony will take place on 5 October at 1.30pm. Pupils and school staff will be joined by representatives of Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, the school’s chair of governors Mike Robinson – who is also a Tameside Council emergency worker who worked on the incident - and Tameside Council Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington, who attended the scene of the fires.
Millbrook Primary was one of the schools closest to the blaze and had a family who had to be evacuated from their home, while many more children and staff lived right in the middle of the smoke plume.
Headteacher Elizabeth Turner said: “Despite difficult and challenging circumstances it is fair to say that the whole community rallied and we received excellent support from the fire service, the Council and our parents and families.
“On the whole, the children coped very well and even offered cakes and refreshments to the fire service in their own time.
“As a Forest School we believe that children learn best when they have a connection to nature and we thought that planting a tree would be a symbolic way of showing our appreciation to the fire service for their brave and dedicated actions – especially as their efforts helped to save our onsite ‘forest’, which is a really valued outdoor learning environment.”
Phil Nelson, GMFRS Group Manager for Stockport and Tameside, said: “The moorland fires this summer were some of the most intense periods of work we have ever seen at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
“The support we received from everyone, including partners, volunteers and our local communities was incredible and we cannot thank you enough for the donations, kind messages and offers of support. It was a real team effort and without everyone’s help our work would’ve have been a lot tougher.
“Thank you especially to Millbrook Primary for their refreshments to keep us going as we worked on the moors – all of our crews were very appreciative of your kind gesture. Planting a tree at the school is very thoughtful and we are delighted to be invited to the planting ceremony. The greenery in the school will help return some much needed nature to the surrounding area.”
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