A couple who planted their old Christmas tree in their front garden 35 years ago now have to decorate it using a CHERRY PICKER – after it grew over 50ft tall.
Avril Rowlands, 68, and husband Christopher, 69, bought the small fir for just £6 from a garden centre in 1978.
They planted it outside their new home in the pretty village of Inkberrow, Worcs., and took a photograph to commemorate the occasion.
But after 35 years of dedicated care it now towers over their home standing a whopping 51ft high – and it’s still growing.
The tree has become so big that it has become a focal point for the local community who team up every year to decorate it.
Each year it is lit up with over 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which are draped around the huge fir using a cherry picker loaned by a local firm.
Avril, a TV writer, said: “My husband and I moved up to the village from London in 1978 for a more meaningful life.
“We saw that the local post office had a Christmas tree which was covered in fairy lights and it really stood out.
“When Christmas was over that year we didn’t want to just throw the tree out so we planted it in the front garden.
“It’s safe to say we weren’t expecting it to still be standing almost 40 years later, nor to have grown to such a height.
“It’s become a bit of a village landmark.
“For the last four years we’ve had a switch-on event with a fairground organ and a steam traction engine – the owner heats up mince pies in the boiler.
“A lot of people in the village say that it’s the start of their Christmas.
“We even get cards addressed to the tree which is quite sweet.”
Avril and Christopher used a single string of Christmas lights to decorate the tree during the early 1980s but as it grew the couple had to buy more and more lights.
Last year they raised over £1,000 for Cancer Research and Worcestershire Royal Hospital Cardiac Care Unit, which saved Chris’s life after he suffered a heart attack.
This year the couple have chosen to raise money for Acorns Children’s Hospice.
Over the last four years they have raised over £5,000 for charity.
Christopher, a retired BBC editor said: “After a few years we realised the tree was growing taller and taller and getting more and more attention, so we decided we’d like to use it to raise money for charity.
“We are very proud of the tree and it does look incredible each year with the lights on it.”
Inkberrow is one of a handful of villages in the country which doesn’t have any street lights and the tree can be seen from a mile away at night when it is lit up.
A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “This is a remarkable tree which has obviously been taken care of.
“Pine trees can grow to huge heights so time will only tell if this one grows any larger.”