Town’s 104 Great War victims each to be represented by an elm tree

Seaford War Memorial
Seaford War Memorial

Seaford Tree Wardens have announced an ambitious and poignant project to mark the 100th anniversary of The Armistice which ended the First World War.

A total of 104 disease-resistant elm trees will be planted around the town – each representing one of Seaford’s 104 war dead.

Planting a tree is a traditional way to remember a loved one and the elms will be a lasting memorial to those who made the supreme sacrifice.

For thousands of years, elms flourished across the UK, and were a symbol of the British countryside. But in the 1970s they were virtually wiped out by Dutch Elm Disease.

The species survived in only a few places, including in East Sussex, where the barrier of the South Downs protected them. East Sussex now has the UK’s largest collection of mature elm trees.

However, recently, the surviving trees have started succumbing to Dutch Elm Disease. The disease is difficult to control and, sadly, more mature elms will be lost.

Seaford Tree Wardens want to help residents plant the 104 new elms in public and private spaces such as parks, schools, churchyards, residential homes, private or shared gardens.

The volunteers are looking for help with finding sites, help with planting, looking after the trees once they are planted, and donations towards the cost and upkeep of the trees.

A tree costs between £10-£100, depending on size, while £5 helps pay for ties, mats and posts.

Visit the website www.seafordtreewardens.wordpress.com/elms-for-armistice to find out more or email seafordtreewardens@outlook.com

Recent surveys have recorded colonies of the endangered White-letter Hairstreak butterfly in Seaford. This rare butterfly relies entirely on elm trees so its chances of survival would be enhanced by the planting project.