Caring for our trees
The beautiful lime trees in St James' Churchyard were planted nearly 200 years ago, and are in need of some TLC.
On this page you can find out what we are planning to do, and how you can help.
What is happening, and why?
The beautiful lime trees in the St James Churchyard date back almost to when the church was built. They were planted between 1832, when Rev Griffin was the first curate of the Chapel of Ease, and 1843 when the chapel became a Parish Church and Rev Thomas Nash Stephenson became the first Vicar.
Many of the trees were felled in the 1960s to allow more light into the building but about 30 remain, bordering the churchyard along St James' Place, Church Road and Stratford Road.
Although some pruning was done on the Stratford Road trees some years ago, the ones bordering St James Place & the walkway, and those along Church Road, are now in
need of remedial work to make them safe and to ensure their future.
We are following the advice of our tree surgeons who have recommended that they should be pollarded. Pollarding is a type of pruning which involves removing the upper branches of a tree, stimulating new and healthy growth of foliage and branches. It also improves safety, as old and potentially hazardous wood is removed. The new, healthy growth will become apparent this year, and within a couple of years the trees will be looking even more lovely than they do now.
The work is being undertaken in two phases, with the St James' Place/walkway trees being tended during the week commencing 3rd April 2023, and work along Church Road following as soon as possible afterwards.
So - we're asking for your patience as this essential work is carried out. Please be assured we are not cutting the trees down, only ensuring their safety and their long-term future. Experts tell us that pollarding can actually extend the life of the tree, so we expect this will contribute to keeping them healthy, and bringing joy to the community of Shirley, for another 200-300 years.
How can I help?
The cost of this work will be in the region of £8000 but it is work that needs to be done. This kind of expense can only be met by using our reserves or asking for special donations. So we are asking church members and friends to consider making a special donation towards the cost.
If you would like to take part, you can make a donation in one of the ways below.
Whichever way you choose, if you are a tax-payer, giving under the gift aid scheme increases the value of your gift by 25% at no cost to you. You can download a gift aid form here, and there are copies at the back of the churches.
Via the Parish Office, or the collection plate in any of our churches: (Please make cheques payable to "Shirley PCC"). Please place your donation in an envelope clearly marked "Trees Appeal". If you are a tax-payer, please complete a gift aid form and place it in the envelope.
Using the secure contactless giving machine at the back of St James' Church: You can choose the amount you wish to donate. If you are a tax-payer, please complete a gift aid form and return it to the Parish Office.
Online: If you would like to make a donation online via our secure giving page please click here.
You will be given the option to choose the amount you wish to give, and (if you pay tax) to Gift Aid your donation. You can also choose to receive a receipt for your gift.
Many thanks for your generosity, which will help these trees to be enjoyed by generations to come.