Tree planting sends signal of hope during National Day of Reflection

Hopwood Hall College and University Centre held a special tree planting ceremony to mark the National Day of Reflection. 

Principal and CEO Julia Heap led the intimate service, which saw a small group of staff and students gather to remember the challenges people have faced over the past year. 

The new sessile oak – chosen because it symbolises strength, protection and resilience – ­is located in a peaceful spot on the college’s 70-acre Middleton Campus. 

Life Sciences tutors Johnpaul Houston and Sarah Whitehurst secured the broadleaf, which is in keeping with the college’s biodiversity action plan. 

In the years to come it could potentially reach heights of 70ft, making it an ideal spot for students, staff and the community to gather in reflection. 

The tree can already be enjoyed by students taking the path between the college’s Technology Centre and its animal enclosures. 

Following the tree planting, the college fell quiet at 12pm as a minute’s silence was observed across its campuses in Middleton and Rochdale.  

The National Day of Reflection gave both students and staff an opportunity to pause to think about the collective loss felt across the country and access any support needed. 

Julia Heap, Principal and CEO at Hopwood Hall College, said: 

 “It was important for us to send a signal of hope as we observed the National Day of Reflection. 

 “As the newest addition to our campus, this tree will ensure we always have a spot where we can go to look back on the challenges that the world has faced over the past year. 

“Just as importantly, it is a reminder for all that we can look forward to a brighter future.” 

Johnpaul Houston, Animal Care Coordinator at Hopwood Hall College, said:  

 “The sessile oak makes a fitting addition to our Middleton Campus. 

 “As well as sending a message of strength, it’s very much in keeping with the surrounding woodland that is loved by both students and the community. 

 “It’s also in line with our biodiversity action plan, in which we’re addressing the threats facing different species of animals in the area.”


Middleton Campus
Rochdale Road, Middleton
Manchester, M24 6XH
0161 643 7560
Rochdale Campus
St. Mary’s Gate
Rochdale, OL12 6RY
01706 345 346