Rotary World War 1 Commemorative Grove

Callander Rotary Club has dedicated an area of land at the foot of Ben Ledi to commemorate the fallen servicemen from Callander in World War 1. To find video records of the event scroll to the bottom of the article

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"Today, everyone involved became a piece of Callander's history."

Over a five year period, Callander and West Perthshire Rotary Club has, in collaboration with the Forestry Commission, been planning the creation of a Commemorative Grove remembering the servicemen from Callander who fell during World War 1.  The Grove is situated on the pathway from the Leny Car Park to Ben Ledi (see the map below).

Dedication of the Site and Permanent Information Board

The project has gone through a number of phases and these are described below.  The final phase was the installation and dedication of the permanent information board at the site.  The board has been installed and it will be dedicated on 11th November 2018, the hyndredth Anniversary of the end of World War 1.  There will be a short ceremony at the site at 3 pm.

The Project

The project was four years in the making, with the most significant phase being the planting of the trees on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 and a formal ceremony to celebrate the event.  At the time a temporary information board was installed and since then work has been ongoing in designing and installing the permanent board.

Initially the idea arose out of an offer from the Woodland Trust to all UK Rotary Clubs to provide a number of trees for planting.  Our Club was keen to take advantage of this and felt there was an opportunity to do something special that would last for a long time.  So, in 2013, under then President John Isgrove's leadership, an approach was made to the Forestry Commission asking for a piece of land near the foot of Ben Ledi that might be put aside for our use.  The Forestry Commission readily agreed and an area of land towards the top of the approach path that starts by the Leny Car Park near Strathyre Cabins, was identified.  This land had been subject to clearance following the destruction of many trees as a result of high winds.

Over the intervening period, despite goodwill and good intent on all sides, a number of delays were experienced.  However, over a few months in Summer and Autumn 2017, the project came together - the Forestry Commission had done the necessary preparatory work on the site, including 'mounding' the parts where the trees would be planted; a selection of broadleaf 'whips' (young trees) were ordered; local school involvement was agreed; the Callander Branch of the British Legion became involved, as did the Callander Heritage Society; on site interpretation board requirements were identified.

On 3rd October 2017, the site was opened and formally dedicated.  The planting was carried out by 8 pairs of pupils from McLaren High School and Callander Primary School.  With the help and supervision of Rotarians and Forestry Commission staff, each pair planted 5 trees.   A further 60 trees were planted by Rotarians over the following couple of weeks.  The event party and invited guests were accompanied to the site by piper Cameron McLay (a pupil at McLaren High School).

Once the tree planting was completed, the site was formally opened and dedicated by Chairman of Scottish National Heritage, Dr Mike Cantlay OBE.  Mike then went on to present certificates to representatives from each of the schools (each participating pupil received individual certificates at a later stage) and then unveiled a temporary information board featuring names and pictures of all of the Callander fallen.

This was followed by a reading of an extract from the war poem, 'For The Fallen', by Past President Brian McKay and by a rendition of the Last Post by Chairman of the Callander Branch of the British Legion, Tom Jones.

              

The project has been led by a number of Rotarians over the period since inception of the idea, but in 2017 a small project team led by Michael Kay and comprising current President Jen Shearer, Past Presidents Sheila Dickson, John Isgrove and Brian McKay, Senior Vice President Peter Ireland, Derek House and Richard Cooper, worked hard to bring the project to a conclusion.

Callander and West Perthshire Rotary Club would like to acknowledge the help given by the Forestry Commission, the Woodland Trust, Mike Cantlay, the Callander branch of the British Legion and the Callander Heritage Society.

For the record the names of the participating pupils were:

Callander Primary School - Emily Christie, Katy Davidson, Rachel Hill, Eilidh Jackson, Katie MacLeod, Ellie Ridgewell, Marley Sandy, Isla Worbey.

McLaren High School - Dina Allan, Kyle Anderson, Archie Cameron, Truli Croy, Alfie Cummings, James Moir, Douglas Scott

Thanks to Past President John Isgrove we have a video record of the event.  Below are YouTube links to the full length video, which is about 24 minutes but well worth watching and an abridged version of about five minutes.

The Final Push

As mentioned above, a temporary interpretation board was installed for the 3rd October 2017 planting ceremony.  At that stage, there was still a deal of design work to undertake regarding the permanent board, so rather than rush it we installed the temporary board.  With Michael Kay, our resident graphic designer, leading the way, a lot of work was undertaken in conjunction with a number of Forestry Commission specialists to reach a final design.  Manufacture of the board was undertaken by the Forestry Commission who, in mid October 2018, completed its installation by the side of the footpath.


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