Prime Minister invited to take part in Stonehaven tribute to North East trader

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been invited to take part in a historic tree planting project celebrating links between Britain and Japan.

Friday, 28th May 2021, 7:00 am
Mineralwell Park in Stonehaven will become a living memorial to merchant Thomas Blake Glover

Mineralwell Park in Stonehaven will become a living memorial to North East merchant Thomas Blake Glover after the arrival of 120 cherry blossom trees to Scotland later this year.

As part of a project to mark 150 years of Japan-UK friendship, Stonehaven was selected as a UK site following an approach by local MP Andrew Bowie to the Japanese embassy in 2018.

The Conservative MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, Mr Bowie has asked Mr Johnson to take part in the planting, which was moved from March to November due to the pandemic.

And Mr Johnson said, “such a gesture would be the cherry on the cake” of the UK-Japan trade deal signed in October.

Mr Bowie added at Prime Minister’s Questions: “Will the Prime Minister accept my invitation to Stonehaven in my constituency to come and plant one of 120 cherry blossom trees, donated by the cherry blossom tree trust to celebrate the deep and growing links between our country, and that other great trading nation, Japan.”

Mr Johnson replied: “I think that such a gesture would be the cherry on the cake of the free trade deal that we've already done.”

Born in Fraserburgh in 1838, Blake Glover founded what would become the Mitsubishi Corporation and the Japan Brewery Company, later the Kirin Brewery Company.

His achievements also inspired the Scottish Samurai Awards, which have been running for 25 years.

Mr Bowie said later: “I was delighted to secure a major role for Stonehaven in the Sakura Cherry Tree Project at a time when the UK is once again expanding its role as a friend and trading partner to nations across the world.

“Thomas Blake Glover is venerated in Japan as the founder of industrialisation and modernisation from its feudal era.

“This project will provide a living testament to his ingenuity and also to the spirit of cooperation he represents.”

He added: “I have asked the Prime Minister to demonstrate the flourishing friendship and partnership between our two nations, and the north east of Scotland in particular.”