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Stansted Park Estate in Rowlands Castle has joined more than 100 of the UK’s most famous historic houses, to contribute towards the rebuilding of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Historic Houses, the national association for independently owned homes and gardens, has rallied its members to support the restoration of the iconic fire-ravaged building.

The donor estates have all offered valuable timber, from trees planted centuries ago, to help restore the iconic landmark’s roof, destroyed by fire last month.

Michael Prior, Head Forester at Stansted Park, said, ‘The Historic Houses Association asked for similar donations of oak timber after the devastating fire at York Minster in 1984.

‘An estate where l was previously employed sent several fine trees to that appeal and so it is an honour and fitting that the Stansted Park Foundation can now assist Notre Dame in its time of need.’

The trees are all from sustainable forestry and already destined for use as commercial timber. They are estimated to have a combined market of well over £100,000. But the donors are keen to emphasise that the timber in buildings like Notre Dame are about something that money can’t buy.

The scheme was the brainchild of the Duke of Rutland, whose family seat is Belvoir Castle in Lincolnshire. He said, ‘We’re able to donate replacements because my great-great-grandfather had the foresight to plant trees that would only be valuable long after he died. In turn, we’ll replant every tree we fell – someone will need them for something in another few hundred years.’

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