An update from Andy HollowayFollowing popular former Stadium Manager, Dacre Holloway's death in 2008 a group of friends and fellow fans funded a tree to be planted in Dacres’s name at The Cliff Hill Training Ground, part of what was, and still is, affectionately known as ‘Dacre’s acres’.
The tree was a FAGUS DWYCK GOLD and was planted in the bottom corner of the Cliff Hill Training Ground, nearest the Cat and Fiddle pub.
Sadly, although the tree thrived initially, after 3 or 4 years the amount of rain that fell on the area eventually took its toll and the tree roots became swamped, meaning that eventually the tree drowned.
A plan was put in place to replace the tree but had to be put on hold when the initial plans for the 3G pitch were formulated, due to the 3G pitch being destined to take in the area where the tree had been planted.
Recently, once the 3G pitch was completed and in use, the replacement of the tree came back on the front burner and, thanks to some ‘high ranking’ support within ECFC, a replacement tree, of the same species as before, was purchased. Following discussions with Clive Pring it was decided that planting it at the Cliff Hill Training ground at the present was not in the best interests of the tree. This is due to the ‘intention’ [hope!] that further development will be taking place in the not too distant future and a permanent planting position could not be identified until the majority of this development is finalised.
Once a tree is planted it is not advisable to move it, unless it is absolutely necessary and even then any movement could lead to a couple of years of lost growth. Also, the roots of this particular tree are quite invasive so it should not be planted near any structure or fixture where it could cause damage.
As such it was decided that, for the time being, the best location for the tree would be in the Memorial Garden at St James Park. A suitable spot has been identified at the turnstiles end of the garden with the tree being planted in a suitable container that can itself be placed in the ground, thereby allowing the tree to grow but keeping its roots within this container. Then, when any development at the Training Ground is complete – hopefully in the next few years – the tree can be replanted out there, in its rightful place, without interrupting any growth.
Weather permitting; the tree should be in place in the Memorial Garden, complete with commemorative plaque, in time for the game on Saturday against Crewe Alexandra, failing that it’ll certainly be in situ for the Stevenage game on Saturday, February 18.
- Andy Holloway.