Tree planted to mark Games vandalised and then replanted
A YOUNG tree had an eventful few hours on its first day at Beau Sejour.
It was planted outside the main entrance early yesterday afternoon to mark Guernsey hosting the 19th Island Games.
But just a few hours later it had been wrenched out of the ground – only to be replanted before midnight.
‘Police attended following reports of a fight outside Beau Sejour during which the tree was uprooted,’ said a Bailiwick Law Enforcement spokesman.
‘It has been successfully replanted and enquiries into the fight are ongoing.’
Reports from the leisure centre indicated that several people were questioned by police after the incident and that one person had gone off in a car.
The tree was planted as a traditional thank you to the host island by the International Island Games Association.
IIGA chairman Jorgen Pettersson planted the silver birch tree on the grass mound opposite the main entrance of the centre.
He was joined at the ceremony by organising committee chairwoman Dame Mary Perkins.
The silver birch was donated by Guernsey Gardens.
‘Games week has a number of traditions which are passed from host island to host island,’ said Mr Pettersson.
‘As well as the opening ceremony and closing ceremony, the tree planting ceremony is an important part of the week as it serves as a reminder of the Games for decades to come.’
A plaque donated by Dowding Signs was put up next to the tree.
At the 2003 Island Games, also held in Guernsey, a tree was planted at Footes Lane.
Organisers said they chose Beau Sejour this time because of its significance to the community.
During the planting, Mr Pettersson likened the island spirit to that of the silver birch.
‘The tree is strong and resilient, like us islanders,’ he said.
The gathering included Grow crew members, who helped plant the tree, Games organisers and sponsors from Ravenscroft, Utmost and PwC.
‘The IIGA is grateful to Guernsey Gardens, Grow and Beau Sejour for their generosity and help in allowing us to mark the gratitude of all the islands competing to the people of Guernsey for their hospitality,’ said Mr Pettersson.
The tree will be watered regularly by Beau Sejour staff and is expected to grow by about 2ft a year – assuming that it now remains in the ground.