Children plant trees at preschool in Commonwealth Canopy competition

Parents, the manager of Little Bears Forest Preschool, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason and Councillor Steve Pitt Max and Lailabelle are pictured to the left of the Lord Mayor. Picture: Lauren Wise
Parents, the manager of Little Bears Forest Preschool, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason and Councillor Steve Pitt Max and Lailabelle are pictured to the left of the Lord Mayor. Picture: Lauren Wise

EAGER children have planted five trees donated by a mother after she won a national competition.

Little Bears Forest Preschool, in Shore Avenue, Portsmouth, received five trees after a donation from a parent who won a competition on This Morning with the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy project invites all 53 Commonwealth nations to contribute areas of indigenous forest to be preserved in the UK. As part of the donation, they received two silver birch trees, two rowan trees and one hazel tree.

Leanne Maines, from Portsmouth, had previously enrolled both her children, Lailabelle, 10, and Max, five, at the preschool.

It was when Max was leaving that she came up with the idea to apply for the competition.

She said: ‘I was one of 10,000 people to win five trees that you can plant.

‘The Forest School is all about nature and I wanted them to have something that can grow with them. It will give them and the students something to look after.’

The preschool hosted a ceremony, with about 12 parents and children in attendance. The event encouraged the children to get involved, as they planted the trees alongside the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Lee Mason and Councillor Steve Pitt.

Cllr Steve Pitt said: ‘We must make sure that for every tree that’s lost another one is planted and if possible we need to keep increasing the number of trees we’ve got to protect the environment for the next generation.’

Heather Smith, director of Little Bears, said: ‘I was absolutely thrilled that one of our families had thought about the environment that we sit in as the ‘Forest School’ – it would be an awful place without trees and greenery.

‘As part of the second most densely populated city in England, these canopy trees are given to us and our children and future generations to be their custodians.’

Cllr Mason said: ‘It is very important, the commonwealth is essential to us. It is a long history that is intertwined with us and anything that celebrates the commonwealth is a great thing.’