Tree 4 Henry – Holm oak planted in memory of much loved Swanage man

Family and friends gathered to plant a tree at Prince Albert Gardens in Swanage in memory of Henry Searle, who sadly died aged just 25.

On the misty afternoon of Thursday 23rd December 2021, tributes were paid to the local man who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour when he was just 19 and given only 12 to 14 months to live by doctors.

Due to his determination and the support of family and friends, who raised thousands of pounds for specialist cancer treatment, Henry lived for a further six years. He lost his battle on Easter Sunday in April 2021.

Henry Searle

Henry Searle

“He was a wonderful, happy child and grew into a beautiful kind hearted adult

Henry’s mother Vicki Searle said:

“The tree has been planted at the top of Prince Albert Gardens, near to the new memorial garden. It’s close to a little stone step where he used to sit with friends as a child and later as an adult to enjoy the views.

“The holm oak will grow into a beautiful tree overlooking Swanage Bay and Prince Albert Gardens, as a real tribute to the memory of Henry.

“He played here as a child with his siblings, cousins, friends and Patch, the family dog. We lived at Royal Victoria Apartments and Henry had a wonderful fun packed childhood with everything on our doorstep, crabbing, swimming, jumping off the stone quay, the beach, the amusements – what more could a child ask for?

“When he was older he continued to enjoy Prince Albert Gardens, having picnics, party evenings with friends and watching fabulous local bands and DJs in the summer.

“He was a wonderful, happy child and grew into a beautiful kind hearted adult. He loved life to the full and our lives changed forever the day he left us all.”

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Henry’s Godfather, Brian Travers paid tribute to Henry

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Henry’s guitar was festively decorated for the occasion

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Family and friends helped fill in the planting hole

“Christmas was Henry’s and our most favourite time of the year

The family chose Christmas time to plant the tree, as they knew many of his friends would be returning home for the festive season but it was also a special time for the family.

Vicki added:

“Christmas was Henry’s and our most favourite time of the year and we are all heartbroken he is not here with us. Henry loved a gathering of any type and a party. Our house was always full of family and friends and a huge hole has been left.

“We would like to thank Swanage Town Council and its operations manager Gail Percival for her kindness and help in arranging the Tree for Henry.”

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Henry’s father and mother, Jonathan and Vicki Searle with their other children, Charlotte and Oliver

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Swanage Town Council operations team help with the planting

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

Family and friends gather to remember Henry at Christmas

“The whole town will enjoy watching the tree grow over the years”

Henry’s Godfather, Brian Travers said a few words, paying tribute to Henry and asked everyone to raise a glass in his memory.

Swanage Town Council operations team dug the planting hole and once the tree was in place, family and friends took turns to fill in the hole.

The operations team then put in stakes to help protect the tree from strong coastal winds.

Swanage Town Mayor, Avril Harris said:

“Swanage Town Council has been undertaking a number of tree planting projects around the town, making good progress with its environment policy action plan, working in partnership with Sustainable Swanage and Greening Swanage on some of these.

“We were pleased to give the Searle family permission to plant a tree along with a plaque in memory of Henry.

“Prince Albert Gardens is a very popular location in Swanage and I’m sure the whole town will enjoy watching the tree grow over the years.”

Planting a tree in memory of Henry Searle

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