Staff and students at Derwen College, near Oswestry, rounded off a milestone year by planting the final tree in their 90th birthday avenue of 12 trees.

The December holly tree was sponsored by Shropshire accountancy firm Whittingham Riddell LLP.

Students at the college, in Gobowen, have been planting a tree every month to mark the college’s 90th year. The tree plantings took place throughout 2017 and have created an avenue of trees, each one chosen to reflect the relevant month.

The first event took place last January, with an Acer davidii George Forest being the first tree of the year to be planted. The final tree, for December, was a festive evergreen holly tree – Ilex aquifolium ‘JC van Tol’ – which was provided by the local independent accountancy Whittingham Riddell LLP.

Derwen College is a specialist residential college for young people aged between 16 and 25 with learning difficulties and disabilities. The college was founded in 1927 by Dame Agnes Hunt, who had also founded the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic hospital with her colleague Robert Jones. College students, staff and supports took part in a range of celebratory events throughout the year

Land-Based Studies Programme Co-ordinator Will Lyon said that staff and students had been delighted to mark the college’s ninth decade with a lasting legacy.

He said: “The Land-Based Studies team have enjoyed marking Derwen College’s 90th birthday by planting a different tree each month to form an avenue of trees. We have taken great pleasure in choosing trees that reflect each month, whether related to the tree’s flowers, colouring, bark or seasonal associations.”

He added: “A different group of students has been involved in the planting each month involving as many as possible from the Land-Based team. The students thought this would be the perfect celebration of Dame Agnes Hunt’s legacy, and a gift that we can all enjoy into the future.”

The tree planting rounds off a busy year of birthday celebrations at the college. Other events have included a Vintage Tea, music event, 1920s ball, and a week of celebration in June to mark the official birthday week.

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Pictured: Kathy Griffiths (left) and Katie Lane from sponsors Whittingham Riddell LLP at the Derwen College December tree planting.

Derwen College staff and students dressed in period costume for the first celebratory tree planting back in January 2017.

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