A representative of the Queen officially launched a new memorial wood in Hartlepool.
Sue Snowdon, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham helped give root to five young saplings to be planted in the peaceful setting at Summerhill Country Park.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill obtained the young trees as part of the The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy initiative.
The project is creating a network of forest conservation initiatives across all 53 Commonwealth countries to mark Her Majesty’s lifetime’s service to the Commonwealth.
The first trees in the Summerhill wood have also been chosen to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Members of Hartlepool Armed Forces Liaison Group and the town’s cadet forces were among those to plant a tree at the opening ceremony.
An area of the park has also been set aside for the future planting of trees by people in memory to loved ones.
Mrs Snowdon said: “That the trees here are going to be part of a memorial wood I think it’s wonderful and in future people can come and plant a tree in memory of a loved one.
“It is a lovely initiative.”
Hartlepool magistrate Liz Carroll volunteered to organise the project after being approached by Mr Hill and council landscape officer Steve Wilkie designed the new area.
Liz said: “With it being the centenary of the war it just seemed nice to tie the two things together and plant the trees somewhere where veterans can come and reflect in a nice area.
“It was an honour to be asked and to do it. The partnership working with Hartlepool Borough Council has been phenomenal and I’m very grateful to them.”
Charity The Woodland Trust has provided 50,000 UK-native broad leaf trees to schools and community groups on a first come first served basis.
Mr Hill said: “As the MP for Hartlepool I am proud that we have chosen to establish an area of native trees called the Memorial Wood, a special, peaceful space for contemplation, reflection and remembrance in a beautiful setting.
“And in the centenary year of the First World War it is also fitting and proper that we should also here commemorate the 1,747 men of Hartlepool who died during that conflict, but also the many thousands from across the Commonwealth who died alongside them.”
Children from Rift House Primary school and the Mayor of Hartlepool, Councillor Allan Barclay, also planted trees.
Reverend Verity Brown, of St Hilda’s Church, whose grandfather Robert Webb fought in the war, led prayers and a dedication.