Families’ heartbreak as HS2 rail project cuts down woodland memorial to children

Parents were heartbroken to find out a tree planted in memory of their daughter was chopped down to make way for the HS2 rail project.

The Wendover Memorial Woodland in Buckinghamshire was created 10 years ago after the land was gifted to a charity, at the time called Iain Rennie Hospice at Home, now Rennie Grove Hospice.

It contained tributes and trees in memory of loved ones who died battling illness and disabilities, including an oak for Alanya Tanner.

Alanya died aged just 11 in 2009.

Mum Yvonne, 46, discovered the tree had been chopped down when she visited on the anniversary of Alanya’s death.

A memorial stone was gone too.

Yvonne, of Aylesbury, Bucks, said: “The trees were carelessly thrown into a pile. My heart is broken. I felt like I lost her all over again.”

Dad Dean, 52, of Chorleywood, Herts, said the memorial had been a comfort to the family after Alanya, severely disabled from birth, died of a chest infection.

Conservationist Chris Packham said: “My sympathies to all their relatives. I’m so sorry we’ve failed to stop this monster.”

A spokesman for HS2 said it had given the hospice a month’s notice of the work beginning.

Tracey Hancock, of Rennie Grove, said the charity wrote to all families with a tree on the site but later found one did not receive their letter.

She added Rennie Grove had assured the family “that we are doing all we can to restore the woodland once construction has been completed”.