tree planting

Jubilee marked in Silverstone and America with joint tree planting ceremony

The Queen’s Green Canopy, an initiative which is seeing thousands of trees planted across Britain to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, now extends to the United States following a joint tree planting ceremony which took place at Silverstone and in Indianapolis last month.

Northamptonshire is twinned with the city of Indianapolis through the Sister Cities International Scheme, as both locations have a strong focus on the motorsports industry, with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Silverstone well known for hosting world-renowned motorsports races.

On 11 May, an American Sweetgum tree was planted at the Silverstone circuit by Paul Parsons, Chairman of the Northamptonshire Queen’s Green Canopy Committee and former IndyCar and Formula 1 driver Max Chilton, who has driven at the Motor Speedway - competing in the IndyCar Series and the legendary Indianapolis 500 between 2015 and 2021.

The Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, Judith B Thomas, was joined by Chris St. Paul, President, Indianapolis-Northamptonshire Sister Cities Committee to plant an English Oak Tree in Garfield Regional Park, Indianapolis, on the same date and at the same time.

Paul Parsons said: “We are delighted by Indianapolis’ enthusiasm to take part in the Platinum Jubilee celebrations and hope that the English Oak they have planted thrives as does this American Gumtree, as enduring symbols of the friendship between our two nations and between the City of Indianapolis and the county of Northamptonshire.

Over one million trees have so far been planted across the country and I’m delighted to say that there has been great enthusiasm and participation for this initiative in all corners of our county. We are also very grateful to Silverstone for providing this fine American Gumtree.

When I was tasked to lead this initiative in Northamptonshire, I saw its remit as stretching across its 900 or so square miles, but what I had not foreseen was an international element!”

Northamptonshire became twinned with Indianapolis in 2009, when the then Mayor of Indianapolis sought to develop a relationship with Great Britain through the Sister Cities International Scheme, that would foster economic, cultural, and technological growth with another area that had a strong focus on the motorsports industry. 

The Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, Judith B Thomas, said: “It is an honour for us to join with Northamptonshire in celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, and to contribute in a small way to her Green Canopy Project. Toward that end, we’ve planted an English Oak at the historic Garfield Regional Park on the south side of Indianapolis. 

“We were excited to know that at the same moment, representatives of West and North Northamptonshire Councils and the Northamptonshire Queen’s Green Canopy Committee were at the Silverstone Circuit, planting a tree to represent our Sister City relationship.”

Councillor Ann Addison, Chairman of West Northamptonshire Council, Councillor Pinder Chauhan, West Northamptonshire Council’s Queen’s Green Canopy representative, Silverstone Ward Councillor Dermot Bambridge and Councillor Harriet Pentland from North Northamptonshire Council were also present on the day, along with Stephane Bazire, Head of Business Partnerships and Sustainability at the Silverstone Circuit.

Mr Bazire said: “At Silverstone, sustainability is very important to us, and the circuit aims to be Zero Carbon by 2030.

We are therefore very pleased to help the environment by planting this tree and contributing to the lasting legacy of the Queen’s Green Canopy, which will benefit generations to come.

We are also delighted that the BRDC member Max Chilton, who has such close links to Indianapolis through his racing career, could be a part of the planting ceremony.