THE local sculptor creating a life-size statue of David Bowie took a break from his hectic schedule to oversee the planting of 1,000 trees at his four-acre studio plot.

Andrew Sinclair, who is due to unveil the crowdfunded statue in Buckinghamshire next year, recently helped a group of village volunteers to dig in and plant the saplings at Burnswood Studios in Bondleigh.

The planting was made possible by a grant from the Woodland Trust, who donated £600 towards the £1,000 cost.

Mr Sinclair, who co-owns The Sculpture School which is located at the site, said: ’It was really important for us to make something of this plot by bringing it back to nature and turning it into a haven for wildlife. When we arrived here just over two years ago from Buckinghamshire, the site was basically a set of fields, and we were determined to improve the landscape and make it far more scenic.

‘It was therefore fantastic that the Woodland Trust have supported us so well. Local residents, tourists and our students should reap the benefits from this for many years to come.’

Mr Sinclair and his partner, Diane Coates, advertised the scheme in the village newsletter. As a result, eight volunteers came forward earlier this year to help with the planting of a mixture of several types of trees, from oak to beech to hornbeam to crab apple and many more.

Woodland Trust Woodland Creation Adviser Hamish Thomson said the trust had been delighted to help Andrew and Diane with their application for funding.

He said: ‘There’s nothing quite like creating your own woodland. We need more trees. Woodland cover in England stands at just 10 per cent compared to a European average of 38 per cent. Trees are a cornerstone of our landscape and countryside, crucial not only as homes for wildlife and nature, but also forming an essential and cherished part of our cultural identity.

‘But with increased losses of trees to pests and diseases, and fewer new trees being planted, if we don’t start doing something now, the countryside could look a very different place in 10 - 15 years. That’s why we want to plant 64 million trees over the next ten years – one for every person in the UK – and why it’s great that people like Andrew and Diane are so keen to play a part.’

Mr Sinclair added: ‘We are really pleased with the wide variety of trees that will flourish here but sorry to hear there was a ban at present on planting ash. I suppose it’s somewhat apt though that the Bowie sculptor has seen his dream for ashes turn to ashes!’