This elm used to stand by Aldbury village pond (on the village green) and gained its name from the famous author of Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan, who is said to have once preached under its leafy boughs. As Bunyan was not a licenced preacher, his appearance at Aldbury would have been illegal by the law of the time, and may have been contributed to one of the spells he spent in jail for this offence.
Local legend also had it that once the tree died no more children would be born in Aldbury, a folk tale that has now sadly been proved wrong by the death of this great tree. It contracted Dutch elm disease in 1973 and, despite the best efforts of locals to save it, had to be felled the following year for safety reasons. It has now been replaced by an oak.
These special cherry trees were planted to celebrate the life of Lauren Chambers, who tragically died of cancer in January 2007, aged 16.
So far 3 trees have been planted; 2 in the local allotment playground and one outside Aldbury School, which she attended. Eventually 16 trees will be planted, to celebrate each of her 16 years of life.
The village grouped together to make her last months as special as possible, arranging for her to arrive at a village ball in a horse-drawn carriage, and for her to visit the set of the Harry Potter films.
The trees will be a reminder of her to the local community, by whom she is missed.
The beauty and tranquility of the woods and trees at Albury inspired a number of the artworks entered in the 2008 Special Woods Art Competition:
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