Nature

A-lister swoops in to help Londoners save ancient tree threatened by flats

Dame Judi Dench is showing her love for the Bethnal Green mulberry tree

The power of Mother Nature is never so majestic as it is when witnessed in trees; with their enchanting roots, strong trunk, and even human-like heartbeat.

Not to mention their otherworldly immortality that can see them live for millenniums.

So, it’s understandable why a group of Hackney residents grew incensed after hearing east London’s oldest tree was going to be chopped down.

[Credit: Shutterstock]

Despite celebrating its 400th birthday, the ancient tree faces annihilation after Tower Hamlets council green-lit plans for 300 luxury flats on the site instead.

However, one A-lister has come to the rescue to help the campaign’s voice shout a little louder – none other than Dame Judi Dench.

The Oscar-winner has joined forces with the Save The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree crew on a mission to prevent developers from tearing it out the ground.

[Credit: Spitalfields Life]

Soaked in history, the beautiful tree has survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the Blitz in the 1940s, when it was even captured on camera as nurses danced around it on the grounds of the London Chest Hospital which has now closed (to become flats)!

Speaking about her involvement, Dame Judi said: “The thought of the 400-year-old Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree being dug up to build a block of flats fills me with horror.

“This pandemic has taught us that we should respect nature not destroy it.”

[Credit: Spitalfields Life / Royal London Hospital Archives]

While Dame Judi, 86, was born in York, she has deep connections with the capital after attending the Central School of Speech and Drama in London before she became a star.

The Hollywood actress and thespian has worked with campaigners to raise more than £13,000 in an effort to save the mulberry, so they can proceed to a full hearing of the Judicial Review at the High Court of the council’s decision to issue planning permission.

In the words of William Blake, “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”

If you can donate, click here: Save The Bethnal Green Mulberry Tree.

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