Author: Sushma Lobo Coventry, November 9th (BAN): On November 4 at Longford Park, Foleshill in the City of Coventry a tree planting ceremony took place to commemorate the 550th anniversary of Sikh founder Guru Nanak. Traditional prayers started the ceremony attended by dignitaries from local Churches, Hindu Temples and Gurudwara’s. There were more than 550 native trees and shrubs planted across Coventry to mark the completion of the Legendary Guru Nanak Dev Ji Woodland. Five native trees and shrubs have been planted throughout Coventry’s parks and green spaces including Northern Red Oak, Acer, Hazel, Common Hawthorn and Crab Apple. Hundreds of pupils from local schools Grange Hurst, Longford Park, and Joseph Cash Primary Schools helped to plant the trees and mark the commentate day. Jon Davis Senior Producer at Coventry City of Culture Trust and Palvinder Singh Chana, Chairman of the Sikh Union, unveiled a special tree plaque to showcase a proud City, Coventry being chosen and awarded as the third UK City of Culture 2021. Linda Bigham, the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Jon Davis, along with members of the Woodland Trust Lady Godiva, Pru Porretta and Sarah Pearson planted commemorative statement trees donated by the local community. Lord Mayor Linda Bigham, gave a speech recognising and taking people back to when the woodland in Longford Park begin, she said: “The growing of a woodland in Longford Park, began when our family noticed a faded plaque within some trees, with the words, ‘Recognise all the human race as one, Guru Gobind Singh Ji’, We went on to discover that 300 trees had been planted in 1999 by Sikh staff at Marconi as a contribution to the Millennium Forest. From these humble beginnings, a unique partnership has developed between the Friends of Longford Park, the Sikh Union, local school children, and the City Council’s Park Wardens. The last few years has seen the planting of a community orchard and 1500 new trees with under planting. This will now be added to by another 550 trees this year to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.” Recognising the credit of a multicultural city Chenine Bhathena, creative director of Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “Coventry City of Culture Trust is delighted to have a tree planted in our honour. We’re committed to creating projects in 2021 that celebrate and improve the city’s bio-diversity and offer residents opportunities to get outside and reconnect with our beautiful green spaces and wild life. We plan to be the most sustainable year of culture and offset our carbon footprint wherever possible. We look forward to continuing to work with the Sikh community in the run up to, during, and after 2021” The Deputy head of Longford Park Primary School, Jen Goode, said: “Collaborating and working alongside the Sikh Union is a wonderful opportunity for the children to engage with the wider community. Our school backs onto Longford Park and the project continues to be a unique opportunity to educate the children about their local surroundings, while developing a new woodland area.” The tree planting ceremony is part of a bigger global movement to plant over one million trees around the world to mark the birth-anniversary by a environmental organisation based in Washington, USA called Eco-Sikh. The event was a collaboration with Coventry council, the Park Service Rangers, the Sikh Union, along with The Friends of Longford Park, and a team of volunteers. Snacks and refreshments were provided by local humanitarian aid organisation Langar Aid, Coventry. What a successful day not only celebrating Cultural City of 2021, but also commemorating 550 years anniversary of Guru Nanak but proactively showcasing the inspirational diversity in Coventry.