We’re heartened to announce the opening of an orchard at St Edward’s CE Academy, Cheddleton, which was planted in memory of beloved SUAT CEO, Keith Hollins.

On Monday 27th June, children, staff, county councillors and local residents joined Keith’s family to dedicate the community orchard to the life and work of Keith. Keith was instrumental in making this Trust what it is today; a national MAT with a strong ethos of Rights, Respect and Responsibility. His passion and vision were remarkable and collectively, those within the Trust will continue his legacy in the same manner that Keith would have.

The event was led by St Edwards CE Academy Cheddleton’s Eco Council children, who are supported by Mr Warrington. Visitors were blessed with sunshine and the unveiling began with a very warm welcome from the Academy’s Principal, Mrs Sue Machin.

Children from the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) gathered around the orchard to sing a fantastic rendition of ‘Roots, Trunk, Branches, Leaves’. It was a well-rehearsed, touching tribute to the young trees that will grow to provide fruit for the school children and surrounding community for many years to come.

The Academy was proud to have Tracy Ward officially open the orchard. Tracy was Keith’s wife and Principal of St. Edward’s CE Academy Cheddleton up until August 2018, before she took up her current role with the Trust as the Director of Learning and School Improvement.

Tracy announced: “I am really pleased to have been invited to open the orchard and represent all of Keith’s family, friends and dear colleagues. Keith was a dedicated member of the Woodland Trust so it is fitting that St Edwards’ community orchard has been planted in his memory. Keith loved nature and cared for the environment. Above all else, he worked tirelessly for all children and young people in education, to improve opportunities for everyone.”

Mrs Machin revealed a plaque that commemorates the orchard as well as Keith’s devotion and loyalty to pupils across the Trust. She said: “I hope that all our children will grow and flourish, just like this orchard will. The assortment of beautiful trees will provide joy and wonder for lots of future generations. On behalf of the school, I’d like to thank Tracy for honouring Keith and opening this area for everyone to benefit from.

The trees planted will go on to bear fruits including, granny smith apples, pears, hazelnuts, elderflowers and berries. As they were grown locally in North Staffordshire, they will thrive in the soil and environment.

The opening concluded with a prayer and the whole school rejoiced in singing the Jubilee Anthem. As the children walked back to their classrooms, visitors enjoyed refreshments including apple themed cakes and reflected on Keith’s incredible career. Keith has paved the way to excellence and everyone at the Trust is committed to carrying on his truly inspirational work. He will be greatly missed and always remembered.

If you’re interested in joining Staffordshire University Academies Trust, then please get in touch for a chat to discuss our services and all the options available to you. Email: office@suatrust.co.uk or telephone 01782 987120. Working together, we will raise standards.


Those in attendance were as follows:

Tracy Ward – Acting CEO of SUAT

Mary Walker – Chair of SUAT trust board

Chris Hollins – Keith’s son

Dave Walker – Keith’s son-in-Law

Michael (Councillor) & Jennifer Bowen – Resident from Hollow Lane.

Christine Corden – Resident from Hollow Lane

Arthur & Roz Yardy – Residents from Hollow Lane

Pete Cooke – St Edwards Site Technician

Joe Porter – Councillor

Mike Worthington – Councillor

Pam Kinshott – LAC

Harold Jennings – Chair of Cheddleton Parish Council

Jodie Calcutt – LAC

Sarah St Clair – LAC