DOZENS of babies and their parents have taken part in a York family picnic held to celebrate the planting of more than 1,250 trees.

The trees have been planted over the past year on York St John University land off Haxby Road to mark the birth of babies in York.

City of York Council joined forces with the Rotary Club of York to launch the planting scheme last year, since when every parent registering the birth of their child through York Register Office has been offered the chance to get involved in the scheme at no cost to them.

Frank Paterson, of the Rotary Club, said more than 100 parents and families took part in Sunday’s picnic at the site, and helped to give the tree saplings a little ‘TLC’ by clearing some of the surrounding grass in the immediate area of the trees.

He thanked everyone who came and ‘made it such a sociable and enjoyable community event.’

He said a plaque describing the project and thanking partner organisations who helped make it happen was unveiled by Cllr Keith Orrell, who had initiated the scheme last June, when he was Lord Mayor of York, by planting the first tree.

“Over 1,250 trees have now been planted on the site, and the project continues until the end of 2019, celebrating the birth of York area’s babies in this unique way.”

He said the whips, or saplings, provided by the Woodland Trust, were a mix of native species.

“They are scattered throughout the site and have been planted by volunteers about two metres apart in small groups,” he said.

“Each whip is contained in a plastic spiral with a cane support to protect them from rabbits and provide a small micro-climate.They are only two years old but are strong and healthy and have settled well into their permanent home.”