A NUMBER of community groups in Thornbury have added to the tree population of the town.

Various groups including the Thornbury Composters, Thornbury in Bloom and Thornbury Town Council helped fund the purchase of 15 trees along with South Gloucestershire who donated a tree. Limes, cherries, pears, oaks and a Wellingtonia were among the varieties planted.

However two of the saplings – one which was planted in memory of a local resident who died in 2013 – were later stolen overnight on Friday, March 6.

Judith Hurford, Thornbury Tree Warden said: “This successful event has resulted in a total of over forty trees being planted in Thornbury during the past four years which is a great achievement.”

The group was formed five years ago when Judith Hurford decided she wanted to increase the number of trees in Thornbury. With representatives from Thornbury Town Council, Thornbury in Bloom, Sustainable Thornbury and two specialist arboriculturists, the group raised funds to buy a range of trees across the town.

Thanks to close working with Phil Dye, tree officer for South Gloucestershire, it has been possible to identify appropriate sites and organise the planting and ongoing maintenance of the trees.

Judith said: “I was particularly grateful to the Thornbury organisations, South Gloucestershire tree officers and the volunteers for their support in making the planting such a success.”

While this had been a great success story, a major disappointment occurred just a few hours after two of the trees that were planted were uprooted and removed.

Judith said: “The two oak saplings were particularly special as one was a jubilee tree grown from a seed from a royal estate and the other, a millennium oak, was grown by a Thornbury resident who sadly died last year. His wife was able to commemorate her husband by having the tree planted by the group. Tragically the two oaks were uprooted and stolen the night they were planted.”

Sue Aitken of Thornbury in Bloom said: “We were all unable to believe that anyone could have been so thoughtless to steal our two saplings. They had been carefully nurtured for years and then the planning and planting involved work by quite a number of people. It is a loss for the people in Thornbury and if anyone knows of their whereabouts we would be very grateful to hear.”

Guy Rawlinson, deputy town mayor and chairman of Thornbury in Bloom said: “It is great to see the Tree Strategy Group yet again planting so many trees around the town, but such a pity that within 24 hours two of the trees have been uprooted.”