A local environmental group is set to embark on a new tree-planting project thanks to sponsorship from Kent International Airport and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.
Trees for Thanet gets young people involved in helping to improve the countryside around them by planting trees on Saturday mornings throughout the winter.
Many of its members are from Ursuline College in Westgate and are carrying out Service to the Environment as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
Since its formation in 1996, the group has planted 7km of hedgerows and 20,000 trees around the countryside in Birchington and Manston with the help of more than 300 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 18.
Trees for Thanet relies completely on sponsorship and fundraising to carry out its work.
The latest project, a new hedgerow on the busy Shottendane Road in Birchington has been made possible by Kent International and Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, who use the airport regularly for pilot and crew training, agreeing to split the £3,000 cost.
Young members from Trees for Thanet visited the airport on Tuesday 27 November to receive the money that will allow them to get to work.
They were met by Matt Clarke, Chief Executive of Kent International Airport, and Gerard Clarke, UK General Manager for Oasis Hong Kong Airlines.
The youngsters also got up close with the Boeing 747-400 series aircraft used by Oasis, which is one of the largest and most modern airliners in use today, and were shown round by the crew.
Work on the new project gets underway on the 15th December and it will see more than 2,000 hedgerow trees planted in a 530 metre double row hawthorn ‘wild-life’ hedge along the Shottendane Road between Park Road and Minster Road, with 26 wild cherry trees situated at 20 metre intervals.
Paul Wells, Trees for Thanet Project Leader, said: “We believe that the development of Kent International Airport is a vital strand to regeneration in Thanet and that care of the environment locally can go hand in hand with excellent commercial development.
“The group is very grateful to the airport and Oasis, as we rely solely on financial backing like this, supported by our own fundraising efforts. The results of our previous projects are there for all to see and we can’t wait to get started on this one.”
Matt Clarke added: “It’s a pleasure to hand over this money to Trees for Thanet, who do fantastic work improving the local countryside, while getting children involved in community and environmental interests at the same time.
“The airport also passes on a special thanks to Oasis Hong Kong for getting involved with this initiative.
“Infratil has always recognised the key role that facilities like airports play in communities and we are keen to offer our support to projects like this. I am sure it will be a great success.”
Gerard Clarke also commented: “With our pilots training at Kent International Airport, Oasis Airlines is proud to support local community initiatives.
“Trees for Thanet is an extremely valuable scheme and we are very pleased to help them improve the local countryside. We look forward to seeing the results of this project."