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Britain's European Hopes Rest On Essex Tree

Gilwell OakA 450 year old Essex oak tree synonymous with scouting is representing the nation in the annual European Tree of the Year contest this Wednesday 21 March.

The Gilwell Oak sits at the heart of Gilwell Park in Epping, the home of the scouting movement. The towering oak was adopted in 1929 by scouting leader Robert Baden Powell as a symbol of the growth of the scouting movement worldwide.

The oak tree has already been named UK tree of the year and now is competing against 12 others trees for the European crown. Our Essex oak faces stiff competition from an apple tree from Slovakia, a poplar from Poland and a sweet chestnut from Hungary.

The competition organisers say the contest helps 230,000 people become more aware of nature and proud of their natural heritage.

Labour Euro MP Alex Mayer who will be attending the award ceremony in Brussels where the winning tree will be announced said: “It is tree-mendous that an Essex oak is representing the UK. I’m certainly rooting for this ‘Very Important Tree’ at an EU level. This is a great opportunity to celebrate and to ensure the movement to give recognition and protection to trees continues to blossom.”

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