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Small Xmas tree planted 35 years ago at family home is now 51ft tall

  • Avril Rowlands, 68, and husband Christopher, 69, bought little fir for £6 from a garden centre in 1978
  • Each year, it is lit up with more
    than 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which are draped around it using a cherry picker loaned by a local firm

By
Nick Enoch


PUBLISHED:

08:49 EST, 9 December 2013


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UPDATED:

09:46 EST, 9 December 2013

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 to be 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, Worcestershire, and took a photograph to commemorate the occasion.

But after years of dedicated care, it now towers over their house – 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. Above, the tree in 2010

The fir has become so big that it has become a focal point for the local community who team up every year to decorate it. Above, the tree in 2010

Avril Rowlands, 68, and husband Christopher, 69 (pictured) do their best to decorate the now 51ft tall fir tree outside their house

Avril Rowlands, 68, and husband Christopher, 69 (pictured) do their best to decorate the now 51ft tall fir tree outside their house

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.

And each year, it is lit up with more than 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which are draped around the huge fir using a cherry picker loaned by a local firm.

Mrs Rowlands, 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.

Each year, the tree, outside their home, in Inkberrow, Worcs, is lit up with more than 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which are draped around it using a cherry picker loaned by a local firm

Each year, the tree, outside their home, in Inkberrow, Worcs, is lit up with more than 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which are draped around it using a cherry picker loaned by a local firm

The couple bought the small fir for just £6 from a garden centre in 1978

The couple bought the small fir for just £6 from a garden centre in 1978

‘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.’

The couple 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 more than £1,000 for Cancer Research and Worcestershire Royal Hospital Cardiac Care Unit, which saved Mr Rowlands’s life after he suffered a heart attack.

This year, they have chosen to raise money for Acorns Children’s Hospice.

The couple 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
The couple 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

The couple 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

Over the past four years, they have raised more than £5,000 for charity.

Mr Rowlands, 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.’

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'

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’

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