A retired couple who planted their old Christmas tree in their front garden in 1978 now have to decorate it using a CHERRY PICKER – after it grew over 50ft tall.
Avril Rowlands, 71, and husband Christopher, 72, bought the small fir for just £6 from a garden centre shortly after moving house.
After their first Christmas in their new home they planted it in their front garden and took a photograph to commemorate the occasion.
Incredibly, the tree has continued growing and now towers above their detached house in the pretty village of Inkberrow, Worcs.
The fir now measures a staggering 52ft in height and this year decorated it using a cherry picker.
On Sunday (11/12) it was lit up with over 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs which were draped around the huge fir.
Avril, a retired TV writer, said: “Inkberrow is one of the only villages in the UK which has no street lights so when the tree is lit up it really is quite a spectacle.
“The tree has become a big part of our lives and we are delighted to light it up each year. When we planted it in the garden we never expected it to grow so tall.
“We 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.
“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.
Over the last six 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.”
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.”