Madam President Zuzana Čaputová of Slovakia & the 13th Tree of Peace
A Service of Remembrance & Planting of the 13th Tree of Peace held at the Brookwood Cemetery UK

After leaving the NATO summit held in Watford on Wed 4th December 2019, Zuzana Čaputová President of Slovakia came to Brookwood with her delegation, which included her Minister of Defence, Peter Gajdoš. She was greeted by the Slovak Ambassador HE Lubomir Rehak and his Defence Attaché Colonel Jan Goceliak, who welcomed everyone to the event.
Gerry Manolas Chair of the Memorial Association for Free Czechoslovak Veterans gave a short speech outlining the work the Association does to commemorate the lives of the veterans buried there. In particular she focused on the work with the Czech and Slovak Schools both in the UK and abroad. A new booklet to support this project has been printed with the support of the Ambassador and was launched on the day.
Wreaths were laid by Madam President Zuzana Čaputová, Saj Hussain the Deputy Mayor of Woking, Sophia Mika of the CWGC, and Gail Anderson of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Standards were presented by Eddie Jones, Peter Nicholas, Captain Michael McCauliffe and Oliver McBrearty carried Woking RAFA standard.
Afterwards Madam President planted a Tree of Peace in the post 1945 plot, a project that has been initiated by Marek Sobola and his team.
From there President Zuzana Čaputová visited the Liberator headstone, which commemorates Czechoslovak civilians that died in a Liberator plane crash after leaving Blackbushe airfield in October 1945. Those who perished on board included 9 women and 5 children; one being WAAF Edita Sedlakova and another, Marina Paulinyova who was Vice Chair of the Czechoslovak Red Cross in London.
We were thrilled to welcome staff, parents and the children from Czech and Slovak Schools across the UK to the event. For some it was their first visit to Brookwood, but many promised to be back for the May Memorial event on Sunday 10th May 2020.
Thanks go to Marta Majerčík and Marian Majerčík who are the MAFCSV international team, for flying in with the President to be with everyone, and Alexander Strihavka and George Scott for their support with the work of the MAFCSV. Also to Avril Kirby and Geoff Ward from Brookwood cemetery and Kev Barnes and Les Davies and the CWGC team for making the site look immaculate; and our friends Eddie and Dagmar at The Trench Experience for their kind hospitality.
A wonderful day that reminds us all of the importance of commemorating our veterans and being thankful for the 75 years of peace we have experienced since the end of WWII.

This 4 minute montage shows a representative selection of the album images.
Played best at full screen in high definition.