THERE will be a service of celebration and hope for the Mortimer Forest.

It will be held at St Laurence Church in Ludlow but will be a multi-faith service.

The keynote speaker will be the Rt Reverend James Jones, a former Bishop of Liverpool and chairman of the Independent Forestry Panel.

A service of music, poetry and inspirational readings has been organised by Friends of Mortimer Forest and St Laurence’s Church, in recognition of the importance of local forests and woodlands to the wellbeing of all people and the natural environment.

Without such recognition these cherished spaces are vulnerable to loss or damage to character and local distinctiveness.

The event taking place in Ludlow has resonated nationally and engendered messages of support from luminaries such as David Attenborough, Alan Titchmarsh, Paul McCartney, Jo Brand, The Bishops of Hereford and St Albans and many more public figures. It is a service of thanksgiving to be held at 11am at St Laurence Church.

It is a multi-faith and environmental celebration of Mortimer Forest which straddles the Shropshire Herefordshire border. It is a recognition of how important these woodlands are to so many people from near and far and from all walks of life.

The service will be addressed by leading environmentalist Bishop James Jones former Bishop of Liverpool and chair of the Independent Forestry Panel that considered the future of the UK’s state-owned forests after the government announced plans to sell off the British state forests.

The service welcomes all comers and will feature video clips from key public figures, music, photographic slides and poetry readings from local schoolchildren.

It is an opportunity for a public coming together and statement of support to the Forestry Commission to help conserve and safeguard this tract of the Wild Marches today in our own time so that we can hand on to future generations our precious inheritance.

The Friends of Mortimer Forest are a non-political environmental support group set up with the hope of conserving and sensitively improving the plantations of this important historic forest for the benefit of all people who live in or visit the Welsh borderlands. A controversial scheme to build holiday cabins in the Forest was dropped last year.

The service is at 11am on Sunday, March 19.