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Cherry trees celebrate UK-Japan friendship

News release 10080, published on 17 Dec 2021
Cherry blossom is set to bloom in War Memorial Park in Basingstoke next spring thanks to a gift of 15 trees from the Sakura Cherry Tree Project.

The Mayor of Basingstoke and Deane Cllr Onnalee Cubitt was joined by representatives from local company Fujitsu Limited, one of the sponsors of the scheme, and Lady Melissa Ashcombe, who suggested that the borough get involved, in a tree planting ceremony to mark the gift on Wednesday (15 December).

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council’s Chief Executive Russell O’Keefe and Leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan also attended the planting of the trees next the skate park in War Memorial Park.
Cherry blossom (Sakura) is the national flower of Japan and the Sakura Project is planting over six thousand of the trees throughout the UK to celebrate the longstanding friendship between the two countries to symbolise its continued growth in future years.

The project will be a legacy from the Japan-UK Season of Culture 2019 to 2021, which aims to showcase Japan’s multifaceted attractions in the UK. This provides the opportunity to learn more about Japan, its culture and people. Once the season ends, members of the public will start to witness the thousands of cherry trees blossom in spring 2022 and beyond.

The Mayor Cllr Cubitt said: “I was approached some months ago by Lady Ashcombe who invited Basingstoke and Deane to be part of this amazing Sakura Tree Project. It is a huge honour for us to celebrate the planting of these 15 Sakura trees gifted to our borough.

“Basingstoke and Deane has a number of Japanese companies who have been a strong presence here for many years. Fujitsu is one of the principal corporate sponsors of this wonderful project and we are delighted that the company was represented at the planting ceremony. We would like to warmly thank all those in the Japanese business community who have been so generous and sponsored this wonderful gift to Basingstoke to bring a little piece of Japan to Basingstoke.”

Marketing Director at Fujitsu Defence Maxine Ashbrook said: “2021 is the 40th anniversary of Fujitsu’s involvement in the UK, so it has been an honour to take part in this project which represents the bond between both countries that has never been stronger. Basingstoke is at the heart of our work in the UK and I hope these cherry trees will stand as a lasting symbol of the strength which the friendship with Japan brings to the area.”

For more information on the Sakura Cherry Tree project see https://japanuksakura.org/

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