Cadets have gathered in a field of poppies to launch a £1 million fundraising effort to plant woodlands commemorating the First World War.
The army and air cadets stood among the wildflowers at Heartwood Forest in Hertfordshire to show their backing for the Woodland Trust’s Centenary Woods project, which will plant four flagship woods in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The flagship woodlands form part of the Woodland Trust’s £12m project to provide a lasting memorial for those who fought and died in the Great War.
The scheme will also involve millions of free trees planted by schools and communities across the UK.
The cadets are aiming to raise more than £1m for the tree-planting project, which runs for the next four years until the centenary of the end of the war.
The four flagship woodlands are at Langley Vale, near Epsom, Surrey, Ffos las Carway in Camarthenshire, Brackfield in Co Londonderry, and the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh.
Woodland Trust chief executive Beccy Speight said: “I am delighted that these and thousands more are supporting us with such a challenging fundraising goal.
“As we know families up and down the country were affected by the First World War and what better way is there to mark that than by planting a tree to give a lasting and growing legacy for those who lost their lives or were affected.
“It is fitting that the cadets, some of whom will be a similar age to those who went to war, should be among the surroundings of Heartwood where there are lots of poppies — a respectful symbol of remembrance.”
Heartwood, where the Woodland Trust is creating the largest new native forest in England, shows how the four flagship woods will begin to develop once planting begins.