There were two celebrations in one at Tiptree this week when The Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst planted the final tree in the Coronation Copse and later unveiled a blue plaque to commemorate Mr Arthur Charles Wilkin the founder of Wilkin & Sons.  Guests, including representatives from Tiptree Parish Council and Colchester City Council, travelled to the tree planting on the farm trailer. 

“Thank you all for coming today to mark the culmination of our tree planting,” said Chris Newenham, joint managing director of Wilkin & Sons.   “In the last year we have planted 3 kms of mixed hedging but our main contribution to The Queen’s Green Canopy has been the planting of 70 young oak trees to mark the Jubilee and then an additional 96 oak trees marking the remarkable life of The Late Queen.  Today is our opportunity to complete the planting in our new Coronation Copse where the 800 saplings cover two sites beside the stream.”  Chris thanked the Lord Lieutenant for coming and invited her to plant the final Oak tree which was marked with a special plaque.

On the wall outside Trewlands Farm house Peter Wilkin, the great grandson of the founder invited the The Lord Lieutenant of Essex Mrs Jennifer Tolhurst to unveil a new blue plaque to commemorate Mr Arthur Charles Wilkin, the founder of the company.  The blue plaque was the inspiration of Cllr Barbara Wood and Tiptree Parish Council.  Peter mentioned that Arthur Charles was the middle child of nine children who lived at Trewlands.  His first job was in London, but he wasn’t happy so returned to the Tiptree countryside; he was an innovative young man and eventually decided to try fruit growing, a first for the area, which proved to be very successful.     

Everyone retreated to the marquee in the Tiptree Secret Garden, where Walter Scott, chairman of Wilkin & Sons commented, “We are quite good at planting trees at Tiptree and this started long before it became so fashionable.” Walter mentioned the company’s proud links with the Royal family, having held a Royal Warrant since 1911, and thanked the Lord Lieutenant for planting the tree and unveiling the blue plaque. 

In response the Lord Lieutenant said: “It is lovely to be here again, the last time was with the Wessexes, now the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.  You all know the history of the Company, but it is interesting that the founder’s key message was quality, integrity, consistency and sustainability, themes that continue to this day.”

Thank you to Curtain Call Interiors Ltd for the use of the blue curtain for our plaque unveiling. All photos by Doug Blank.