Planting a Tree for Freedom

Local politicians and activists gather to watch Mrs Zena Edmund-Charles plant her tree

Thank you to the fantastic Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society (LLHS) for organising a really lovely service, earlier this week, to plant a tree commemorating the two hundredth anniversary of the abolition of Britain’s slave trade.

Local MP Harry Cohen (pictured above centre) joined Cllr Milton Martin (pictured directly left of me) and I, alongside local members of the society to take part in the occasion.

LLHS Chair Bill Measure speaks

Bill Measure, Chair of the Leyton and Leytonstone Historical Society (pictured above) gave the first speech. As Chair of the Society, Bill has done a wonderful job in organising a number of commemorative events to mark the bicentenary. He reminded us of the part Leyton and Leytonstone played in the slave trade, both positive and negative.

Harry says a few words about the abolition

Harry Cohen MP (pictured above centre) spoke next. He discussed the role Parliament played in the fighting to abolish the slave trade and spoke with deep sadness about the modern day slavery of people trafficking.

Mrs Edwards plants a commemorative tree

After Councillor Martin spoke on behalf of the London Borough of Waltham Forest, well known community nurse and local campaigner Mrs Zena Edmund-Charles (pictured above) was invited to plant the commemorative tree, which had been donated by Waltham Forest Council.

After that and after a few words and a prayer from the Reverend Raymond Draper, the ceremony came to an end.


Thank you again to the hard working volunteers from LLHS for arranging such a lovely ceremony.

The Society has organised a number of other events to commemorate this year’s bicentenary of the abolition of the British slave trade.

On Saturday 24th March, between 2pm and 4pm, St John’s Church, Leytonstone, E11 will be hosting an art exhibition featuring artefacts and mementos of the period.

This will be followed by a commemorative ‘Freedom Walk’ led by local historian Peter Ashan, on Sunday 25th March at 3pm, leaving from St John’s Church, Leytonstone, E11 and following a route around Leyton, Leytonstone and Walthamstow.

Finally on the evening of Sunday 25th March, the Reverend Femi Cole-Njie will be leading a church service of thanksgiving at the Methodist Church, Leytonstone High Rd, E11.

I will keep you fully informed of any further events announced.

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