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PRESS RELEASE: Merseyside woman ‘marries’ tree in Country Park threatened by new road

A Merseyside resident, fighting Government plans [1] to build a dual carriageway through Rimrose Valley Country Park in Liverpool, has taken her love of trees to another level, as she married one on Saturday, 7th September.

Local MP Bill Esterson attended the wedding

Kate Cunningham was inspired by female activists in Mexico who held similar ceremonies in 2018 to draw attention to illegal logging and land clearing in their homeland [2]. Whilst the ‘marriage’ is not legally binding [3], she will be changing her surname to ‘Elder’; the species of tree she is set to wed.

The ceremony took place in Rimrose Valley next to a newly created wildflower meadow [4] and was attended by Miss Cunningham’s family and friends, as well as local MPs Bill Esterson and Peter Dowd.

The event was covered by various national newspapers

Speaking about her motivation for the wedding, Miss Cunningham said:

“I’ve always felt a duty to fight for what is right and I was drawn to this campaign. Rimrose Valley is somewhere I and countless others go to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. I wanted this ceremony to be a celebration of everything trees represent and to draw attention to the looming threat facing our park.

“We need to be doing everything we can to protect our trees and the green space they provide. They not only help to combat the climate emergency by removing CO2 from the atmosphere; they clean the air we breathe.

“This is particularly close to my heart. My mum died of an asthma attack and I suffer from a lung condition called bronchiectasis which means that my own lungs are prone to infection.

“Plans to bulldoze this beautiful place for yet another busy road make no sense and are an attack on our health. There is already too much pollution in our region and we desperately need a solution which addresses this; not one which will make it even worse.”


[1] The proposed road through Rimrose Valley Country Park is a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and a replacement for the current A5036 Liverpool Port Access Road.

The DfT instructed Highways England to design a road to service the newly-expanded Port of Liverpool; facilitating more HGV movements.

In its public consultation Highways England offered only two options; both of which were unpalatable to the local community and in fact weren’t any choice at all. Option B (Rimrose Valley) was the least favoured. Summary of results here:

[2] Article on similar ‘tree weddings’ in Mexico:

[3] The ceremony is symbolic, rather than a legal marriage and was performed by Liverpool actor, musician and performance poet, Davy Edge:

[4] The wildflower meadow was sown in May 2019 following a crowd-funding project “Bees, Blooms & Butterflies” which raised over £4,600 in less than a month. Full details here:

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