GREEN-FINGERED volunteers got digging to commemorate the Whitchurch soldiers who died in the First World War on Saturday.

Pupils and residents gathered at Testbourne Community School to plant 64 birch trees, to mark each soldier, despite the cold and drizzle of the day.

Birch trees were chosen specifically for their symbolism of resurrection and healing, and for their large absorption of roadside air pollution, project organiser Graham Burgess told the Advertiser.

He added: “A key thing about the whole project is ‘steps along the way’.

“The trees of course are like infants and they will grow on into the future and every day hundreds of children will walk by them on their way to school.”

The planting came as part of a series of events to mark Whitchurch’s fallen soldiers and history of the First World War, such as an exhibition and special meal.