A full programme of activities has been planned across South Tyneside in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Street parties, tree planting and a beacon-lighting ceremony are all part of the celebrations in the borough.
And the first tree to go in the ground has been planted in North Marine Park, part of the UK-wide Queen’s Green Canopy initiative.
The occasion was attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Tyne and Wear, Susan Winfield, the Deputy Mayor and Deputy Mayoress of South Tyneside, Councillor Joe Amar and Mrs Lynn Blair, South Tyneside Council leader Councillor Tracey Dixon, and Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, Councillor Ernest Gibson.
The tree was just one of a number of new trees being planted in both North and South Marine Parks, with the help of local volunteers, including the Friends of the North and South Marine Parks group and youngsters from the 10th South Shields Boys’ Brigade.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “We are delighted and proud to be taking part in the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative and helping to celebrate Her Majesty’s incredible 70-year reign.
“We are aware of the huge importance of trees in our communities.
"They absorb carbon dioxide from the air, improve biodiversity, create new habitats for local wildlife, not to mention the role they have in enhancing our local environment and boosting people’s health and wellbeing.
“We also made a pledge to plant at least 3,000 trees a year and we are well on our way to achieving this in this current planting season.
“Joining communities across the UK to take part in the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme not only helps to enhance our beautiful natural environment even further but supports a lasting legacy in honour of the Queen’s leadership that will benefit generations to come.”
South Tyneside Council said the borough’s average tree canopy coverage is 16% – already exceeding the UK standards for coastal towns, which is 15%.
Working in partnership with Trees for Cities, the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative encourages the planting of trees that will thrive, helping to increase canopy coverage across the country and enhance the environment for the benefit of future generations.
As part of scheme, South Tyneside Council is planting 70 new trees and has already installed an avenue of cherry trees in South Marine Park.
Ian Stimpson, Company Section Leader of 10th South Shields Boys Brigade, said: “We were delighted to be involved in the tree planting to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee and be part of such a significant occasion.
“It was a great way to support the local environment and was something special for the brigade to do during the half term holidays. It also contributed to badge work with the brigade which helps to broaden the young people’s horizons.”
Joan Eggleston, Secretary of the Friends of the North and South Marine Parks, said: “We have been delighted to be included in the Queen’s Green Canopy initiative and be part of a national work programme to celebrate parks, trees and open spaces which have shown to be of such great importance to the public throughout the pandemic.”
Further planting activities are taking place over the coming weeks with local volunteer groups.
Households are also encouraged to get involved in the QCG scheme and ‘plant a tree for the jubilee’ in their own gardens.