Scholes - The Avenue of Memorial Trees

Scholes Memorial Trees

The Memorial Trees which run along the length of Station Road form a living memorial to the men from Scholes who died during the Great War of 1914 - 1918 and the World War of 1939 - 1945.

If the visitor stands at the War Memorial looking up Station Road towards the A64 York Road, those trees on the left-hand side stand in memory of the fallen from the Great War, whilst those lining the opposite side of the road remind us of the dead of the World War.

Station Road in Scholes, lined by Memorial Trees

Since they were planted, some of the trees, which are a mixture of Horse Chestnut and Lime, have been a favourite source of 'conkers' for generations of Scholes children, especially as the trees line the final part of the route to school. In that capacity alone the trees have become a central part of village life and are instantly recognisable to anyone from Scholes.

Scholes is a thriving village and living in the village is an attractive proposition for many people. A housing development was planned for the land between the houses on Station Road and the former railway line. Access to the proposed development was planned to be via a road built from Station Road, roughly opposite the parade of shops, and this would have meant the demolition of one semidetached house and the removal of one tree, or more. In a direct response to this a representation was made by Scholes resident and Parish Councillor, George Hall to Leeds City Council on behalf of the ‘Scholes Community Forum’. The representation requested that the City Council make an order to protect the trees in perpetuity.

Unfortunately, the request was turned down and so, unbeaten, an appeal was made to National Government through the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The Secretary of State took the view that this was a wholly local matter and refused to intervene.

The view of the ‘Scholes Community Forum’ was that the men of the village who had served and died for their country had lost their lives in Europe and further afield, thus making the matter anything but local.

Memorial Trees Rededication Parade

Enlisting the help of Leeds City Councillor Alec Shelbrooke, and the Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Parish Council, Scholes Community Forum continued to campaign and petition for the grant of an order to keep the trees protected. After a period of continual struggle and frustration lasting two years their tenacity was rewarded and today, thanks to the tireless work of Councillor George Hall and his able assistants the village now has an order which not only ensures protection for the Memorial Trees but provides a living memorial to those members of our community who have lost their lives because of their service to their country.

To mark the occasion of the granting of a Tree Preservation Order, the opportunity was taken to hold a Service of Thanksgiving and Re-dedication in the Church of St Philip on Main Street on the afternoon of Saturday, 6th September 2008. A parade marched from Station Road, acknowledging the War Memorial as it passed, before moving along Main Street and into the church. Student Pilots of the Fleet Air Arm and the Royal Air Force marched at the head of the parade, followed up by the Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Branch of the Royal British Legion, the Fellowship of the Services, Scholes Scout, Cubs and Beavers, with representation from the Anglican and Methodist Churches of Scholes, Scholes Community Care and Scholes in Bloom.

The service was held in the presence of Mr Michael Fox DL, HM Deputy Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, accompanied by Mrs Linda Fox, Councillor Frank and Mrs Sheila Robinson, Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Leeds, Mr Colin Burgon MP (Elmet). Leeds City Council, Harewood Ward and Barwick in Elmet and Scholes Parish Council were also represented.

The Service was conducted by Dr Alan Stanley, assisted by the Venerable Peter Burrows, Archdeacon of Leeds. Lieutenant Colonel David Rhodes, representing the Yorkshire Regiment read the exhortation from Binyon’s ‘For the Fallen’, and led the Act of Remembrance.

Once the service had broken up, an informal reception was held at 'Orlando's at the Buffers.

The Parade approaches St Philip's Church