Happy Birthday and Stories That Inspire

23 Jul 2021

This week, on Monday 19th, of July, Aconite turned 11! 

11 years of inspiring projects, meeting friends and partnerships across the globe and learning from challenging and amazing experiences. And, as in early adolescence, we have grown stronger, taller, enjoying the energy and passion that continue driving us forward.

More than ever, we want our films to be in tune with the vision and aspirations we have for our communities and how we relate to our surroundings.

The calling on humanity for the 21st Century is about reawakening and reconnecting with nature as well as the effect that our life choices, big or small, have on all living beings around us. It is also a time for recognising and being aware of the lethal impact that a social system based on the concept of power and consumption has had on our relationship with others and our planet as a whole.

We would like to celebrate our birthday by paying particular attention to the impact that life choices can have on the way we live and the long-lasting impact it can have on others.  

As such, we would like to share the work that the Friends of Happy Valley Foundation in Orkney are doing to preserve the vision of its creator, Edwin Harrold.

In 1991, exactly 30 years ago this summer, our Chief  Executive Aimara Reques visited Happy Valley when Mr. Harrold was still alive.

This summer Aimara is going back to Happy Valley to replant and rehome the baby rowan tree that initiated and inspired our upcoming film, The Forest For The Trees by director Lucy Walker. The key team of filmmakers (Lucy Walker, David Rosier, Aimara Reques) planted this sapling two years ago in the company of an amazing group of friends who like us value the potency that even small positive gestures can have on the way we relate and commit to everything around us. Thanks to Timoti Bramley; Madge Bray, Anabell Farnell-Watson and Katherine Tetlow for sharing your friendship and wisdom!

Planting our baby tree at Happy Valley is also a way to honour the long-lasting legacy that one individual, living a modest life,  enriched with natural abundance, can have on inspiring new generations.

Here is some info about Edwin Harrold and his Happy Valley:

Edwin was local man from Orkney, who, after being discharged for health reasons from the second World War, decided to go back home and retreat from a world badly affected by the war. Edwin chose to live on his own in an old cottage in Orkney which had been uninhabited for a long time and there he dedicated his days to develop a valley of forest splendour. When he first moved in the place was totally bare. Because of the exposed, windy weather conditions, Orkney is not an easy place to grow trees. Edwin started to plant a belt of elderberry then sycamores. Over the decades Edwin added more and more trees of all types, allowing for a diverse and well-supported community of trees to thrive: oaks, lime, Japanese cedar, beech, copper beech, ash, holly, cherry, apple, willows, rowan, whitebeam, elm, yew, plus monkey puzzle trees. He rewilded the land and allowed nature to take its course to allow trees and natural beings to grow together and flourish.

Thus, Happy Valley was created. Edwin died in 2005 when he was nearly 100 years old. The Friends of Happy Valley work hard to keep Edwin’s legacy alive. The place today has been declared an official nature reserve thanks to its abundant diversity of plants and animals: a haven for natural life to coexist.

Feel free to check out the Happy Valley website and consider showing your support to this small foundation by offering a donation.

Last, but not least, we want to thank you, our friends and supporters, for following Aconite's work throughout all these years. We are excited to see where the future will take us next and to show you our amazing upcoming projects. More exciting news about our projects to follow in the Autumn. Enjoy your summer!

We are off on holiday to enjoy the summer heat too and will return to the office on the week of 9th of Aug 2021. Until then!

Aconite Team