Sue's trees first of thousands for Bernicia estates

A 93-year-old woman’s dream to plant trees near her home for future generations to enjoy is now a reality thanks to Bernicia’s support.

Talented artist and former school teacher Sue Handoll completed drawings and plans for a green area outside her Berwick home, to be planted with crab apple, cherry, pink and white flowering hawthorn, hazel, silver birch and rowan trees.

Bernicia manages the Newfields estate where Sue lives and stepped in to buy and plant trees when we saw her masterplan after being contacted by Sue’s local ward county councillor Catherine Seymour.

The ten saplings should be in flower in early spring – and are the first of 3,000 trees we aim to plant on estates we manage over the next three years.

Bernicia has an ambitious environmental strategy to enhance the level of biodiversity on our green spaces by planting trees, wild flower meadows and nurturing native, wildlife-friendly plants and shrubs.

Sue, whose own garden is stocked with a host of trees and flowers, said: “I had a vision in my mind’s eye for that piece of land.

“The trees I’ve picked are all flowering trees, except for the silver birch, and were deliberately picked as they won’t need pruning.

“I know they can all grow here because I’ve got them all growing in my garden.”

Steven Adey, Bernicia Head of Housing, said: “We were only too happy to work with Sue when we heard of her plans through Catherine, her county councillor.

“Bernicia seeks to work with partners to improve the quality of life for people living on our estates today and for generations to come.

“A significant part of this aim is to identify opportunities for enhancing and improving biodiversity on Bernicia land whilst improving the overall appearance of estates for residents to enjoy. This tree planting initiative thanks to Sue’s vision will help us to achieve this.”

Coun Seymour said: “I was very pleased to help facilitate Sue’s vision of more trees on this land as she is so enthusiastic about growing trees, plants and fruit in her garden.

“It is a joy to visit and I think she must have two green thumbs, as she does wonders in her garden. I thank Bernicia along with our green space officer Frances Povey at Northumberland County Council for supporting this project and for Bernicia’s commitment to plant much more on its estates in the North East.

“We are very keen to plant more trees in Berwick and have planted many hundreds in the town in the last few years that the community wished for – for everyone to enjoy.

Frances Povey, Northumberland County Council area countryside officer, said: “Great community engagement is very important and allows the residents to come forward with ideas for improving their environment for which county council officers will accommodate where at all possible.”

The photo shows Sue, second left, with John Green, Bernicia team leader estate services, Coun Catherine Seymour and Frances Povey, Northumberland area countryside officer – on the land with the newly planted trees.