Banburyshire school is guaranteed a springtime spectacle for years to come with the gift of 15 Japanese flowering cherry trees

A primary school near Banbury will have a memorable display of springtime blossom in the years to come following the donation of 15 flowering cherry trees.

By Roseanne Edwards
Monday, 24th January 2022, 6:04 pm
Updated Monday, 24th January 2022, 6:06 pm

Wroxton CE Primary School this week welcomed Kaisaku Sandy Sano, joint chairman of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, which provided the trees as part of its gift of more than 7,000 flowering cherries to over 200 parks and schools across the UK.

He described the gift as a lasting symbol and a testament to the strong relationship between Britain and Japan.

The donation of the trees, which have been planted around the perimeter of the school, was made possible through Trinity College, Oxford which offered some of a number of trees they had accepted from the project. The college was keen to see some planted on land owned by Trinity outside of the city and Wroxton was one of the areas chosen.

Keisaku Sandy Sano (with spade) officially presents Wroxton CE Primary School with 15 cherry trees. Also pictured, l-r are Geoff Fraser, Rev Alicia Baker, Dr Harvey Marcovitch and school governors Laura Robarts, Sue Neal and Marcia Yarborough

"They have to be planted seven metres apart and viewable by the public," said Dr Harvey Marcovitch, chairman of Wroxton and Balscote Parish Council.

"Eventually, with the help of April Guiness, head at Wroxton Primary School, we arranged for them to be planted around the perimeter of their sports field. Logistically we could not coordinate the planting date with the opening ceremony so the trees were planted before today's (Monday) ceremony."

A commemorative plaque from the Sakura project, placed near the front of the school, was uncovered today by Mr Sano.

Children at the school have been working on projects related to Japan and pupils sang a Japanese version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to Mr Sano. He was also presented with gifts and paintings made by the pupils, some of whom also treated him to a display of traditional maypole dancing.

Wroxton Primary School pupils delight their Japanese guests with a display of maypole dancing

Mr Sano said: "The response we have had (to the project) throughout the UK, from Guernsey in the south to the Orkneys in the north, from parks, schools and community gardens, has been amazing.

"It is a testament to the strong relationship between the two countries and we hope the trees will be a lasting tribute to that."

Many members and company supporters of the Japan-British Society, donated funds for the project whose patron, HRH the Duke of Gloucester, said: “What better way to commemorate the long-standing friendship between the people of the United Kingdom and Japan, than the planting of Japanese cherry trees that will live on for future generations to enjoy.”

HE Yasumasa Nagamine, Japanese ambassador to the UK said: “Just like our relationship, these trees will grow stronger as they mature and each year when they blossom. I hope they bring joy to people across the UK and remind them of the deep friendship between our two nations and peoples.”

Keisaku Sandy Sano unveils a plaque commemorating the donation of 15 flowering cherry trees to Wroxton CE Primary School
Wroxton will be treated to a wonderful display of cherry blossom for years to come. Picture by Getty.