Page last updated at 20:18 GMT, Saturday, 5 December 2009

Pop star helps break world record

Nadine Coyle
Nadine Coyle returned to her roots to help break a tree planting world record

Conservation volunteers, including the Girl's Aloud star Nadine Coyle, have broken the world record for the largest number of trees planted in one hour.

Over 100 people took part in the event in Londonderry, planting 26,422 trees at Gransha Woods. They beat the previous record by more than 8,000.

It was part of the BBC Breathing Places 'Tree O'Clock' event which aimed to plant thousands of trees across the UK.

Over 3,000 trees were also planted at a Tree O'Clock event at Stormont.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots joined GAA players and a host of local sports stars to lend a hand in the planting of thousands of young oak and ash trees on the estate.

Similar tree planting events also took place in Craigavon, Ballymena and County Tyrone on Saturday.

'Phenomenal achievement'

The volunteers at the Derry event included rugby players, a rowing club, local schoolchildren and families from the area who all arrived to give the project a dig out.

They were competing against two teams in England in their attempt to plant the biggest number of trees in a single location within 60 minutes.

Edwin Poots
Edwin Poots digs deep at Stormont for the Tree O'Clock event

The other teams, based in Essex and Hertfordshire, reached totals of just over 20,300 trees each.

That left Nadine Coyle, who had returned to her roots to launch the event, to announce a comprehensive victory for her native city shortly after 1300 GMT.

The chief executive of the Woodland Trust, Sue Holden, congratulated the Derry team on their "phenomenal achievement".

It was all the more impressive, considering that they did it with considerably fewer people.

New woodland

Ninety planters, supported by 20 helpers took part in the winning team, compared with their competition across the water who each had the benefit of 100 planters and 100 other volunteers to help out.

A new oak grove near the banks of the Foyle River was created in the process.

It includes 4,000 saplings which had been gathered as acorns from nearby ancient woodland and raised by Conservation Volunteers Northern Ireland.

In total, the number of trees planted at events across the UK on Saturday would be enough to cover 5,000 football pitches, according to Ms Holden.

"This figure combined with all the hundreds of thousands of other trees planted by individuals at many sites and in back gardens, will go on having lasting benefits for native wildlife, for people and our environment for generations to come," she added.



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SEE ALSO
Record breakers
05 Dec 09 |  Northern Ireland
Digging deep for a tree world record
04 Dec 09 |  Northern Ireland
Nadine Coyle in tree world record
27 Nov 09 |  Foyle and West

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