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Autumnwatch presenter Chris Packham has taken to Twitter to blast the people behind the new High Speed Two (HS2) rail line, following reports that a memorial wood in Buckinghamshire has been destroyed. The trees in the Wendover Memorial Woodland, which were planted in memory of children who had died after battling illness and disability, have been ripped up to make way for the transport project.
“Does it get any worse? “Come on @HS2ltd does it get any worse?” Chris wrote online yesterday, in view of his 443,500 followers.
“Desecrating the memorials of children who have died fighting illness and disability in a hospice,” he went on to add alongside a newspaper article covering the story.
“My sympathies to all their relatives.
“I’m so sorry we have failed to stop this monster,” the apologetic TV star continued.
“Truly heartbreaking. A monster indeed … we do not need this,” one follower wrote in the comments section of the post.
“Whether you support HS2 or not is one thing. There is no excuse for the lack of respect shown to the families of the dead children,” a second follower added.
Another social media user, who posted pictures of trees lying on the floor, added: “I visited this afternoon. Quite shocking the disregard that @HS2ltd has shown to this important place for many families.
“It’s one thing to remove it for the construction, but it’s another to make no effort to relocate it and then toss the remains to the side like it’s trash.”
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The memorial wood was planted in 2010 and offers a peaceful space for reflection and remembrance.
Grieving parents have scattered the ashes of their children and placed tributes among the trees at the woodland area over the years.
A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd told The Bucks Herald: “In order to build Wendover’s green tunnel, which will reduce noise and disruption for the surrounding community, we unfortunately need to clear a section of woodland planted ten years ago by the Rennie Grove Hospice, which has since relocated out of the town.
“We informed the hospice and the landowner a month in advance, providing them with time to notify the families of the deceased who may have wanted to remove any fixed items before work starts.”
The new HS2 will pass through Buckinghamshire connecting London to Birmingham, with the intention of improving travelling times to the capital city from the Midlands.
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