Harry Redknapp praises jubilee ‘urban greening’ scheme in London

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Harry Redknapp is backing plans to create a tree covered oasis in London’s East End in honour of the Queen’s 70-year reign.

The former Premier League manager said it was “heartening” the Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) project would transform Furze Green in Tower Hamlets into a space for residents to enjoy – and perhaps inspire future sports stars.

The site, being launched on Saturday, will be the first urban greening project of the QGC, which was established to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 and is inviting people from across the UK to “Plant a Tree for the Jubilee”.

Festival Trials Day – Cheltenham Racecourse
Harry Redknapp backs the Queen’s Green Canopy project in London’s East End (David Davies/PA)

Redknapp, a former professional footballer who managed Tottenham and West Ham, said: “I’ve said before I owe my life to football, but you can’t play football without green space.

“I grew up in the East End amongst the buildings and tower blocks, but in the middle we had our ‘stadium’. Small as it was, it was ours, and it changed our lives.”

Redknapp, who was crowned King of the Jungle when he won the 2018 series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!, added: “It is really heartening to learn about The Queen’s Green Canopy’s tree planting in Tower Hamlets to create a beautiful space for residents to enjoy, and perhaps inspire those youngsters with the same dreams we had.”

Working in partnership with the charity Trees for Cities, the QGC will join with the local community to transform the Furze Green landscape into a leafy oasis.

A canopy will be formed by planting 17 Jubilee trees to connect the existing green space and increase the area’s biodiversity, while also creating a special meeting place for people to gather.

The site at Furze Green in Tower Hamlets which will be planted with trees (Queen’s Green Canopy)
The site at Furze Green in Tower Hamlets which will be planted with trees (Queen’s Green Canopy)

As the trees mature, they will create shady, tranquil areas for residents to enjoy.

The launch event will celebrate the area and community, with local leaders and diverse groups of all ages, faiths and beliefs from across Tower Hamlets gathering.

Bromley South Ward, in which Furze Green is located, has one of the lowest canopy cover densities in London at 12.53% – in comparison to the highest London Borough, Barnet at 27.1% – and 21.87% for the city overall.

The imminent construction of a new primary school, two housing schemes, and the extension of a nearby secondary school makes the need for green space even more urgent.

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