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Environment / A message of peace and hope from Aith

Pupils from Aith Junior High School helped planting the Ginkgo tree. Photos: Aith JH

PUPILS at Aith Junior High School were involved in a hugely symbolic ceremony on Friday when a tree that originates from Hiroshima in Japan was planted in the village on Friday.

The ginkgo biloba sapling is a direct descendent of the ginkgo tree that stood in the centre of Hiroshima and somehow survived the devastating impact of the nuclear bomb that was dropped on the city in August 1945.

The tree was donated to the school by the Mayors for Peace movement after pupils completed projects on the Second World War and specifically the background and impact of the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Over 140, 000 people perished in Hiroshima alone and the long-term impact of the radiation led to many more deaths. Hiroshima was reduced to ashes and the tree, like everything else near the centre of the city, was caught in a fireball.

The nuclear attacks on both cities were hugely destructive, but somehow the Ginkgosurvived and eventually flourished.

The direct descendent of the ‘hibakujumoku’, the A-bombed trees are today monuments to nature’s capacity to withstand destruction and have become global symbols of peace and hope.

Primary six and seven teacher Mark Balfour said: “We are incredibly proud and honoured to accept this seedling from the mother tree in Hiroshima, gifted to us by the Mayors for Peace.

“We will take care of this tree and it will be a symbol of peace in our community”.

The tree was planted by the woodlands squad of Shetland Amenity Trust.

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021