Trees for Christian
A Samprasfanz Gift to Baby Sampras

After the joyful birth of Pete and Bridgette’s first child last November, members discussed what gift Samprasfanz could send him. It’s not easy to think of presents for someone who will never want for any material thing.

For several years I have been donating to the Woodland Trust, for trees to be planted in new woodlands created by them, and ‘giving’ the trees as gifts. Certificates are sent to the person nominated, stating how many trees have been planted in their name and where they are. Re-forestation is vitally important for the global environment: many disasters such as soil erosion and even climate change have resulted from millions of trees being lost every year, in the wake of increasing development. So I made the suggestion that we might donate some trees for Christian. These would be a living, growing gift which hopefully would prove fascinating to a little boy when he was old enough to understand. An added attraction would be that the Woodland Trust’s Estate in Kent is only about 30 miles from Wimbledon, and therefore it would be feasible for the Sampras family to visit Christian’s trees some time when they were in England for The Championships. What fun he could have, locating his very own trees from the map, trying to count them, and measuring his growth against theirs!

I was delighted when my suggestion was agreed on and I was asked to organise the project. Once people had made a commitment, they then had to send me the money for the trees donated and a personal greeting to go with their gift. Most people lead such busy lives, and there were delays due to people being away or offline for a while, falling ill, or - in the every day rush of living - just forgetting. But they could rely on me reminding them – again and AGAIN if necessary!

Eventually I had everything together, and was thrilled to be able to send off the £400 (US$650 approx.) which we raised. For this amount we were able to dedicate a piece of woodland to Christian with 40 trees in numbered plots, and I hope you agree that the certificate sent to him looks quite impressive. This was accompanied by a list of the personal messages from those who donated to the project; information about the estate and the type of trees planted; a map showing how to find the estate, as well as the exact location of Christian’s trees; and a covering letter from myself on behalf of the Group.

During these long months when we have been waiting and hoping for Pete to play, it helped to take my mind off depressing thoughts of the dreaded ‘R’ word by getting involved in organising our gift for Christian. I am grateful to everyone who participated, and also to those who for various reasons ould not do so, but showed their interest and support. This is the kind of joint venture, of we Fanz coming together for a common purpose in the name of Pete, and now his son, which sets this Group apart from mere message boards and other fan sites. SAMPRASFANZ ARE A FAMILY and as such we have sent our gift to THE SAMPRAS FAMILY. I do hope they will like it, and that we may learn of Christian’s reaction when he is older.

Related Links:
A visit to Christian Charles Sampras’ Woodland by Cynthia Smith and Jane Nixon in 2004
Bridgette's Letter

Fans' Dedication to Baby Christian Sampras

Here are the special dedications by the fans. (Each person has given one tree, unless otherwise indicated in brackets.)

Michelle Belanger, Montreal, Canada
Your father graced the grass of Wimbledon – now you have “roots” near there! With love and best wishes, Mimi.

Eiko Sekine, Tamiko Nagasawa, Junko Noda, Michiko Kikuchi, Kayoko Kusaka, Kuniko Suzuki, Japan
Send you their very best wishes for a long and happy life.

Katerina Christoforou, London, England (2)
Congratulations Bridgette and Pete on the birth of your son. Naste kala. O Theos mazi sas.

Peggy Podmore, Ontario, Canada (2)
Grow up straight and true, like our gift to you. I hope one day your parents will take you to see your trees.

Rita Adgate, California, USA (3)
Be strong. Never mind the weather – face it full on.

Jeannie Eckert, California, USA
A tree to remind you always that your father was the best ever. May you grow to be like him.

Laura Love, New Jersey, USA
Best wishes to the newest Sampras. May he bring as much pleasure to his family as his parents have brought to their fans.

Philip Ip, Hong Kong
Grow up fast – want to see you on court soon!

Patricia Rogler, Massachusetts, USA
May these trees symbolize the long and happy life I wish for you and your parents.
Love Patty.

Beth Blythe, Virginia, USA
Have a beautiful and happy life. May you always be surrounded by those who love you and wish you only good things.

Kathy Davies, Wisconsin, USA
May you have a happy and successful life.

Geraldine and Edward Gregory Davies, Gloucester, England (2)
“Come wander with me, she said
Into regions yet untrod
And read what is still unread
In the Manuscripts of God.”
- Longfellow

Anja Linders, Berlin, Germany
May you grow up as strong and healthy as these trees.

Andre Fischer, Berlin, Germany
May our living gift of trees send you positive energy for a long and happy life.

Jane Fergus, California, USA
For a very special little boy, whose Mom and Dad are special too.

Peri Dalal, Bombay, India
Wishing that you will grow up to be a fine young man and make your wonderful parents proud of you.

Georgia Christoforou, Birmingham, England
I hope you will follow whatever career you choose with the same elegance and graciousness as your parents. Wishing you happiness, health and God’s blessing.

Suzanne G. Verret, California, USA (2)
Wishing you much love and happiness, these trees are growing to mark the birth of a very special little boy.

Marylee Longo, New Jersey, USA (2)
May you have a good life and be whatever you want to be.

Marty Tidwell, Texas, USA
Your birth was an even greater event for your parents than 14 Grand Slams! Blessings to you all.

Sue Dodds, Victoria, Australia
I wish you a happy life and that you remain humble in spirit, like your father. Bless your heart and all the best.

Jane Nixon, Hertfordshire, England (2)
Go forward, head held high, expecting the best and all your wishes will come true. Take care and be happy. With very best wishes.

Joy Parker, Montana, USA (4)
May you grow strong and healthy, like our gift of trees. I wish love, good health and happiness to you, Mom and Dad.

Cynthia Smith, near Nottingham, England
Follow your heart, follow your star – follow your parents’ fine examples. I wish you all you wish for yourself.

The Woodland Trust

Acquired by the Woodland Trust in 1997, Hucking Estate in Kent covers over 580 acres bordering the North Downs Way. It affords stunning views from the edge of the North Downs, south towards Maidstone and beyond across the Kentish Weald. Previously a combination of semi-natural ancient woodland and arable land, the re-creation of grassland and wildflower meadows will offer tremendous conservation benefits to a large number of flora and fauna. Since 1908 over 2,500 metres of hedgerows have been destroyed and even since 1961 25 hectares of woodland was lost from the Hucking Estate. Using regionally collected seed, hedgerows have been planted along some of the original field boundaries, creating a network of small fields and compartments. Many native hedgerow species have been planted, including field maple, hawthorn, blackthorn and hazel.

The existing ancient woodland is primarily chestnut, ash and hornbeam coppice, with oak standards. Around the edge of this ancient woodland 180,000 trees were planted during 1998 and 1999, to buffer or protect the established woodland and to connect together the small fragmented woodland blocks of the Estate. This huge undertaking began in October 1998, using seed selected from the local region. Species planted include oak, ash, beech, small leaved lime, hornbeam, wild cherry, whitebeam, dogwood, elder, yew and guelder rose.'

The wood should be able to support up to 30 species of butterfly; the average count now is 24. The Small Copper butterfly has made a welcome comeback after a two-year absence.

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