Students ask their pals to hug a tree for fundraising campaign

Bedford Free School students support treehuggers campaign - Megan Radford, Leah Terry, Isha Gilbert and Freddie Powell.
Bedford Free School students support treehuggers campaign - Megan Radford, Leah Terry, Isha Gilbert and Freddie Powell.

An inspired team of four students at Bedford Free School have become charity champions in support of a fundraising campaign being run by The Forest of Marston Vale Trust.

Megan Radford, Leah Terry, Isha Gilbert and Freddie Powell have been encouraging their friends in years 7, 8 and 9 at the school to take selfies hugging a tree while on their cross country runs and have been posting the pictures to social media to support and raise awareness of the #treehugger campaign.

The students are also leading a fundraising campaign to support #treehugger and their first event was The Great Bedford Free School Christmas Tree Mufti Day held on Wednesday, December 16. The children were crazily creative and dressed up for the day in the Christmas tree theme and made a donation for not wearing their school uniform.

This event is the first activity in the partnership between The Forest of Marston Vale Trust and Bedford Free School, with plans underway to develop learning resources and educational visits for the students using the trust’s sites to enhance the science curriculum at the school.

Robina Ballard-Davis, fundraising officer for The Forest of Marston Vale Trust said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Bedford Free School and the enthusiasm and motivation of the Year 8 students is fantastic.

“#treehugger is all about having fun outdoors while raising funds for The Forest of Marston Vale Trust, so the students’ cross country selfies and Christmas Tree Mufti Day reflect the campaign theme perfectly.”

Megan said: “I enjoyed visiting the Forest Centre at Marston Moretaine. It is an amazing place for people to enjoy the outdoors and for wildlife too. I am really looking forward to next year when we get to study all of the different plants, insects and animals in our science lessons and do lots of practical activities at the centre.”

The money raised by #treehugger will help the trust to look after the woodlands it has created throughout Marston Vale as well as planting more trees throughout the area. The Forest of Marston Vale Trust has nine woodland sites, covering 61 square miles between Bedford and Milton Keynes and works to keep them as safe havens within communities for individuals and families to have fun outdoors together.

The sites are managed to provide natural habitats for a diverse mixture of wildlife species, including many rare and declining UK species such as the turtle dove and the bumble bee.

The trust aims to continue planting trees for future generations to enjoy and to nurture the trees planted to give them the best chance to survive and thrive. A new area will be planted at Green End, Kempston, on February 7.

More information on the #treehugger campaign and ideas of how you, your club, school or organisation can take part is available from Robina Ballard-Davis on 01234 762605 or by email to