Commemorative Oak Tree Planted on Stanborough Park

Commemorative Oak Tree Planted on Stanborough Park

Pastor John Surridge, Outgoing BUC Executive Secretary

Peggy Brett, a Londoner, was born in October 1921. She had three children: Margaret, Robert, and Paul. In 1979, her daughter Margaret and Margaret's husband, Ron Stewart, became Seventh-day Adventists. Margaret later became a Bible worker in the South England Conference, and Ron became a pastor.

When Ron and Margaret lived in Devon, Peggy used to visit them by train and was persuaded to attend church. Going on a Saturday was a bit of a surprise, but Peggy was impressed by the kindness of the pastor and his wife, Litch and Shelly. When Ron and Margaret's car broke down while taking Peggy back to the station, Litch came to the rescue and even carried her case to the platform. 

This small gesture was the start of Peggy's long journey of faith.

The seed planted that day gradually matured, and many years later, on 1 October 2016, just 12 days short of her 95th birthday, Pastor Simon Martin baptised her at the Dunstable church. This remarkable event, her baptism at such an advanced age, was a testament to her unwavering faith and a source of inspiration for all who witnessed it. As she came out of the water, she told Simon, "This is the happiest day of my life!"

Peggy turned 100 in 2021, as reported in the 26 November 2021 edition of Messenger  (pg. 22). She is still alive today.

Last year Peggy's son Robert started making enquiries as to what could be done to commemorate his mother's remarkable life – something tangible which she could enjoy while she was still living. As an extended family they have held a picnic on the grounds of Stanborough Park almost every year and have enjoyed the shade of the beautiful trees there. Oak trees in particular hold a special place in the family's heart, as Robert fondly recalls sitting underneath one with his mother during his visits to her care home. In fact, following her baptism, Robert collected an acorn from that tree and planted it in a pot. The tree thrived, and Robert asked if it could perhaps be planted somewhere on Stanborough Park. Negotiations ensued, and groundsman Gary Montague picked the perfect spot.

Robert arrived with the tree on 5 April 2024, having driven all the way down from Newcastle. A brief site survey confirmed Gary's suggested location, a hole was dug, and the tree was planted at the fork of the road and the footpath leading up to Stanborough Secondary School. This act of planting the tree, a symbol of Peggy's life and faith, was not just a physical task, but a labour of love and respect for a remarkable lady. Those with long memories, or access to historical photos, will remember that another tree used to stand in this location, adjacent to the towering and iconic Canadian Redwood, which adorns so many photos of the park.

We hope this new tree will eventually match the magnificence of its predecessor and will stand for many years as a living testimony to the life, faith, and legacy of a remarkable lady.