This year Dame Judi Dench launches Celebration Day, which takes place on Sunday 28th May 2023. Celebration Day is a new national day, created by the public, for the public, to remember and celebrate people who are no longer with us, and those who have influenced and shaped us to be who we are.

The National Trust is taking part in Celebration Day this year and is offering people the chance to donate £5 to plant a tree in dedication of a loved one.

Any donation made to the National Trust’s Plant a Tree campaign between 23rd May and 11th June will be used to create a new dedicated woodland, close to Dunham Massey in Greater Manchester.

Dame Judi Dench says:

“It’s no secret that I adore trees, and I personally plant a tree every time a close friend or relative dies. I have a whole wood of friends and family. I love to see the tree grow in celebration of their lives, and it provides a living legacy that brings back fond memories, as well as helping the environment. This is why I am delighted to launch the Celebration Day tree planting initiative with the National Trust, to encourage people to plant a tree for a lost loved one. Trees are part of my extended family and I implore people to get involved on the 28th May.”

A survey from Celebration Day has revealed that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of the nation said they’d be interested in planting a tree to remember a loved one, with ‘protecting the environment’ and ‘finding trees peaceful’ being some of the main reasons for this choice.

Hilary McGrady, Director-General of the National Trust, said: “My own experiences with the loss of loved ones, including my parents, have led me to think a lot about how we remember people. Leaving a living legacy in the form of planting a tree is something that comes up time and again. I think the fact that in planting a tree we are creating a better world for future generations, as well as marking a special life, is very powerful for people. I look forward to watching the woodland created through Plant a Tree with the National Trust for Celebration Day grow.”

Each tree has the potential to remove one tonne of carbon dioxide from the air over its lifetime and the habitat they help to create provides a much-needed haven for wildlife. Celebration Day 2023 trees will be established by National Trust rangers, experts and volunteers at a site near Dunham Massey from autumn this year onwards, during the optimum conditions for planting.

John Deakin, Head of Trees and Woodland at the National Trust, said: “Trees have long been symbolic of the cycle of life and death. The fact that 72% of the nation consider planting a tree to be the preferred way to celebrate a loved one demonstrates our society’s deep respect and love for trees. At Dunham Massey, the National Trust is privileged to look after one of the finest collections of veteran trees in England, including an oak tree that has been standing for more than 500 years. It’s wonderful to think that the trees planted through Celebration Day may still be here in another 500 years’ time, a long-lasting tribute to the lives they commemorate.”

Other supporters taking part include Arlene Phillips who will be dedicating a tree to her dear friend Len Goodman, and Alex and Olivia Bowen whose tree will be for their friend Joe.

Celebration Day’s inaugural year in 2022 saw a host of people including Alexander Armstrong, Frankie Dettori, Prue Leith, Richard E Grant and Stephen Fry come together to share stories, remember fondly, and celebrate people from their past who are no longer with them.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here