Frank P Matthews: Cultivating Legacies and Orchards in Honour of Beloved Lucton School Headteacher David Bicker-Caarten


Frank P Matthews: Cultivating Legacies and Orchards in Honour of a Beloved Headteacher

On the crisp morning of St. David’s Day, the Frank P Matthews Landscapes team had the privilege of supporting a heartwarming spectacle within the verdant embrace of Lucton School’s grounds. A vibrant assembly of students, adorned in their bright red coats, CCF uniforms, and waving Welsh flags, gathered with a shared purpose: to commence the remarkable task of rejuvenating and expanding their cherished school orchard by planting one hundred fruit trees.

This significant initiative was embarked upon in loving memory of Mr. Bicker-Caarten, former Headteacher of Lucton School, whose vision and passion for the natural world left an indelible mark on the school community. His passing five months prior ignited a collective desire to pay tribute to his legacy through the creation and restoration of priority habitats within the school’s domain.

Nestled in the scenic crossroads of England and Wales, Lucton School’s location is emblematic of traditional orchard country, as highlighted by Emma Johnson from Natural England’s West Midlands team. The existing mistletoe-laden trees stand as silent witnesses to the area’s rich natural heritage, making it an idyllic setting for nurturing a traditional orchard.

The collaboration between Lucton School and Natural England, inspired by Mr. Bicker-Caarten’s own environmental ethos, has been a testament to the shared values of conservation and educational enrichment. With expert guidance from Senior Habitats Adviser Lucy Wyman, orchard specialist Geoffrey Newman, and David Lewis from Lewis Forestry, the project set forth with ambitious goals to breathe new life into a one-hectare traditional orchard and introduce another of equal size within the school’s precincts.

Frank P Matthews is honoured to have played a pivotal role in this endeavour by supplying the young fruit trees that will root the memory of Mr. Bicker-Caarten within the school’s landscape. The selection of trees, including eating apples and pears, was chosen with future expansions to include apples, plums, and cherries, weaving a rich tapestry of biodiversity and learning opportunities for the school community.

Guided by the enthusiastic leadership of teacher John Lyden and BTEC student George Jones, students from ages 4 to 18 delved hands-first into the planting process. Each tree planted symbolizes a collective commitment to environmental stewardship, education, and the nurturing of both the school and local ecosystems.

George Jones, embodying the next generation’s dedication to conservation, has vowed to oversee the orchard’s flourishing, safeguarding it from threats such as rabbit damage and ensuring its prosperity as a living classroom and habitat.

Through this poignant project, Frank P Matthews stands with Lucton School in celebrating the legacy of Mr. Bicker-Caarten. Together, we are sowing the seeds of environmental awareness, stewardship, and community engagement, cultivating a future where the importance of traditional orchards and the natural world is cherished and preserved for generations to come.

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