On Friday 30th March 1928, 120 young pine and plane trees were planted in the proposed centre grounds by local school children representing 48 Lanarkshire schools.
The trees were supplied from the County Colony at Hairmyres, above East Kilbride. The planting of the trees was part of the scheme proposed by the Scottish Executive for the David Livingstone National Memorial at Blantyre.
Sir Henry S. Keith, Hamilton, presided over a company of about 500 at the planting ceremony and the speakers included the Rev. James McNair, Edinburgh, chairman of the Scottish National National Executive; the Rev . W. Macdiarmid, Blantyre , also a member of the National Executive ; Mr J . Jeffrey Waddell, and the Rev James Campbell, Blantyre.
Sir Henry Keith intimated that 48 schools were represented, besides six Blantyre Sunday schools. A child from each school planted a tree running in double rows along the main entrance way and each affixed a metal disc denoting the school represented.
Mr McNair gave details of the memorial scheme, which included the laying out of the grounds with floral plots and shrubs and making provision “for accommodating church parties and Sunday school picnics. He said that there could be no more notable tribute paid to the memory of Dr Livingstone than the planting of these 120 trees by the school children of Blantyre and surrounding districts.
Quoting Dr Livingstone’s last message before leaving Blantyre, “Fear God and Work Hard.” Mr McNair said that no better inspiration could be given to the children of today and he hoped they would carry this message with them through their lives. After the tree planting ceremony, which occupied fully two hours, the children and guardians and visitors were entertained to tea in the old school where Livingstone obtained his primary education.
Pictured on that day, some of the schoolchildren plant the trees at David Livingstone Centre.
From “Blantyre Explained” by Paul Veverka (c) 2016