A World War Two veteran who served alongside Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth was amongst the guests for the planting of a tree for the late monarch’s tree planting initiative – The Queen’s Green Canopy.
Violet Clarke served with the then Princess Elizabeth in the Auxillary Territorial Service, having joined at the height of the war in 1943. Her service saw the now 97-year-old work in armament factories readying vehicles and weapons mounts for use on the front line.
Violet now lives in Appleton Lodge, a care home based on Royal British Legion Industries village in Aylesford, Kent, which is home to more than 300 veterans and their families. Injured veterans working for RBLI, which runs specialist factories based on the same Kent village and in Glasgow, Scotland, were selected to produce official plaques for the tree-planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Queen Elizabeth Platinum Jubilee in 2022.
The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) project has been extended until the end of the tree planting season in March 2023 to give people an opportunity to plant trees in memoriam to honour Her Majesty.
The 2,000th plaque produced by the RBLI veterans for the campaign was placed alongside a cherry tree outside the Appleton Lodge care home by Colonel Dan Rex, Chief Executive of The Queen’s Green Canopy. Appleton Lodge was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in 2019 which was her last official visit to the county of Kent.
Violet Clarke said: “It was an honour to be at the tree planting marking the 2000th plaque produced by the veterans who work on RBLI’s village in Kent.
“I had the honour of serving alongside Her Majesty and we were all deeply impacted by her passing earlier this year. The Queen’s Green Canopy is a tremendous legacy left by Her Majesty. As it will in so many other ways, her reign will live on in this wonderful project and it was privilege to be involved in even a small way.”
Colonel Dan Rex, Chief Executive of the Queen’s Green Canopy, said: “The Queen’s Green Canopy is a unique project which is working with a range of partners and communities to plant trees across the nation. We are delighted to be involved with the RBLI through the production of these special commemorative plaques which will stand proudly by the trees to mark the occasion for generations to come.
“No doubt Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth would be immensely proud to have seen military veterans provided with meaningful employment through the project and for them to have reached such a significant milestone. And it was incredibly fitting to plant the 2000th plaque alongside Violet who played such a vital role in the war effort.”
Michelle Ferguson, Managing Director of RBLI’s social enterprises, said: “The team of veterans working in our factories are so proud to be supporting this wonderful project. The fact that our team of veterans are producing these stunning plaques is a tremendous vote of confidence in their ability to produce first-class quality products.
“It could not be more fitting to have welcomed Colonel Rex to plant this milestone plaque alongside Violet outside the very home Her late majesty opened just three years ago.”