Rotary tree planting strengthens historic links


The president of Rotary International Britain and Ireland, David Fowler, (RGHF member) planted an evergreen oak tree in Birkenhead Park on July 8th during his visit to the Rotary Club of Birkenhead, for a special event supported by Wirral’s 10 Rotary Clubs.

On the same day, the president of the Rotary Club of New York celebrated the sponsorship of a tree in Central Park whose designer used Birkenhead Park – the world’s first public park – as his inspiration.

This was the first tree planted by this RIBI president, who aims to place a tree in each Rotary district during his year of office.

The evergreen oak (quercus ilex) was chosen as the species was among those planted in the original park layout in the 1840s.

Tom Risely the Rotary District 1180 Environmental Officer, said: “The evergreen oak was planted in Birkenhead Park as part of a year-long nationwide initiative to mark the work of Rotarians since 1905 in building better understanding between all peoples and nations.

“Rotarians in New York joined us on this special occasion by holding a ceremony in Central Park to mark the sponsorship of a Rotary tree there.

“This link-up not only promotes fellowship between the two countries but also strengthens the historic links between the two world-famous parks.”

The Birkenhead Park ceremony was attended by the borough’s deputy mayor and mayoress, Cllr and Mrs Alan Jennings, Mrs. Daphne Fowler, District Governor 1180 Mike Clutton and his wife Anne, as well as senior Rotarians from across Wirral.

Birkenhead Park is acknowledged to be the first publicly funded civic park in Britain and its design by Joseph Paxton influenced designer Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision for Central Park in New York.

Commemorative trees were originally planted when the park opened in 1847.



The 10 Wirral Rotary Clubs involved in this project were;

Bebington, Birkenhead, Heswall, Hoylake and West Kirby, Mid Wirral, Neston, North Wirral, South Wirral, West Wirral, Wallasey

1) Ref 802 smaller group

2. (Ref: 175) RIBI President David Fowler and Mrs. Daphne Fowler are pictured centre during the tree planting reception, accompanied by the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Wirral Cllr. and Mrs. Alan Jennings to their right and to their left District Governor 1180 Mike Clutton and Mrs. Anne Clutton, together with Rotary officials and Presidents of Wirral Rotary Clubs.

DG Peter Manton holds the umbrella. This took place at South Cave in a plantation in which the 12 previous club Presidents are all commemorated by a tree.


RGHF Senior Historian Basil Lewis