The history of Tree Twinning
2007 saw the 200th anniversary of the end of the slave trade in the British Empire with the passing of the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act on 25 March 1807. The bicentenary celebration coincided with the 50th anniversary of Ghana’s independence. For almost 150 years Ghana, on Africa’s west coast, had been the centre of the British slave trade.
In 2006 Ken Whitley, one of the founders of Tree Appeal, was introduced to David Murden by David Bellamy. David Murden was the founder of the 'And Albert' charity, established to promote the export of Ghanaian craft goods, the donation of refurbished computers for schools, hospitals and businesses and the provision of riverboats essential for trading between villages. It was decided that, working with And Albert, Tree Appeal would plant much needed trees in Ghana and so 'Tree Twinning' was born.
David Bellamy and David Murden were planning a visit to Ghana to produce a video promoting the work of And Albert and to record the durbar which was taking place to celebrate the 50th year of independence. Tree Appeal agreed to sponsor the planting of 10,000 trees and to go to Ghana to help plant them.
The durbar was held at Anomabo on 25th March 2007. This town played a very significant role during the slave trade as it was from the local Fort William that the slaves were put onto ships destined for new lands never to see Africa or their families again. See pictures from the durbar.
Grace Wankam, a prominent figure in the Anomabo community organised the cooperation of a number of local schools and the sites where the trees were planted. Over a three-week period the Tree Appeal team planted 3000 of their 10,000 donated trees with the involvement of local schools, a large proportion of them being a fruit trees. See pictures from the tree planting at Anomabo.
“Let me congratulate Tree Appeal for the valuable work it is doing to link communities in the North east of England and West Africa. The project is a tremendous way of marking the 200th Anniversary of the abolition of the slave trade and the 50th Anniversary of Ghana's independence. I wish you every success." - The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Tony Blair MP
After Tree Appeal returned to the UK the work continued. One of our corporate partners, Version One, sponsored the provision of hundreds of refurbished computers to Ghana. These computers went to local schools and hospitals. Read more about this project
The financial crisis of 2008 and the following recession resulted in a number of Tree Appeal corporate partners having to postpone their involvement in tree planting. Those that remained committed to tree planting preferred to concentrate on planting trees in the UK.
Now in 2021 with the Government’s commitment to the planting of millions of trees in the UK to combat climate change and the raised awareness of the urgent need to plant trees in Africa, Tree Appeal has resolved to reintroduce the Tree Twinning initiative to its corporate partners. To that end Tree Appeal has established a working partnership with International Tree Foundation (ITF) who have been planting trees in Africa since 1922.