Martyrs’ Tree makes shortlist of Woodland Trust competition

Tim Lezard Europe, UK,

Tolpuddle Martyrs TreePeople are being urged to vote for the Martyrs’ Tree in Tolpuddle as England’s Tree of the Year.

The 330-year-old Sycamore is underneath where, 181 years ago, Dorset farm workers held meetings to form a union to campaign for better pay.

For their pains six were charged with taking an unlawful oath and transported to Australia for seven years, returning only after a mass campaign for their pardon.

Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of the South West TUC and organiser of the annual Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival, said: “At a time when the right to strike is again being challenged, it’s important to remember what the Martyrs’ Tree stands for.

“It represents liberty, the freedom of ordinary working people to debate, discuss, argue and organise to protect themselves and their families.

“It’s also a wonderful place to sit and reflect on the story of the Martyrs, through whose sacrifice the right to join a union was enshrined in law.”

The competition is organised by the Woodland Trust. You can vote here.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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