History of the Amersham Area

The Churchill Tree

This article was written by the late Jack True from Holmer Green and is published here with permission from his daughter, Anne Greatorex.  It tells the story of the tree planted in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Old Amersham.

Jack True (PHO3689)

Jack True (PHO3689)

Those who have spent a holiday including a visit to beautiful Vienna must have strolled through the gardens which adjoin the Hapsburg property of the Spanish Riding School leading to Mozart’s statue and the Opera House, where one is able to meander or rest awhile amongst the trees facing the lake. It is from this point I wish to commence my story.

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In late January 1965 I had completed a business trip to Vienna and was relaxing by the lake waiting to be taken to the airport when news came through that Sir Winston Churchill had died. Like thousands of others I suddenly felt sad and a little lost. It had always been my intention, after the war, to write to Sir Winston and thank him for both his leadership and service, not only to the nation but also to mankind, but like many of my good intentions, as the song goes: “I’m forever blowing bubbles – they just fade and die””, I never got round to it. However, shortly after hearing the sad news, a pod of about 9 inches in length from an overhanging branch of a large majestic tree fell to my feet which I picked up and put into my brief-case.

 

The Acacia tree in 2015, now 50 years old (PHO3688)

The Acacia tree in 2015, now 50 years old (PHO3688)

On the morning of Sir Winston’s funeral I planted a seed from this pod which I hoped would germinate and grow as a living memorial to Sir Winston Churchill. In the spring it was planted out into the garden where it grew during 20 years to a height of about 15 feet. It was obvious to my wife and I that the tree was outgrowing our garden and that the first thought new occupiers would probably have would be to cut it down, so I got in touch with Mr Peter Ridout, who, at the time, was Town Clerk to Amersham Town Council, and he kindly arranged with the Council Parks & Gardens Committee to have the tree removed and replanted in the church yard of St Mary’s which adjoins Old Amersham Memorial Gardens where, when fully matured, the branches will overhang.
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The tree has prospered under the care and attention of the Parks & Gardens Staff who have now placed a plaque beside the tree which reads: “This acacia tree was grown from seed sown on the morning of Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral on 4 February 1965 and was planted here in memory of that great Englishman“.