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Christmas tree first planted in 1978 now stands at 50ft tall

Christmas tree first planted by a couple outside their four-bed home in 1978 in a village with no street lights now stands 50ft tall, attracts crowds of visitors and even stars in a children’s book

  • Avril and Christopher Rowlands, 78 and 79, paid £6 for the fir 45 year ago 
  • Now one of the biggest landmarks in Inkberrow, Worcestershire 
  • Tree currently needs a cherry picker to reach top branches and add star 

A couple’s first Christmas tree from 1978 now stands over 50ft tall and attracts thousands of people to their annual festive lights switch-on.

Avril and Christopher Rowlands paid £6 for the fir which they put in the front garden of their new home in the village of Inkberrow, Worcs, 45 years ago.

Over the years it has steadily grown and now towers their four-bedroom detached property, being decorated in thousands of fairy lights which the couple switch on for the villagers.

The tree is so tall a cherry picker is used to reach the top branches and add the star to the top.

The fir has become one of the biggest landmarks in the village and even stars in a new children’s book, written by Mrs Rowlands.

Avril and Christopher Rowlands with their Christmas tree in 2023, which now stands at 50ft (15.24m) 

The couple paid £6 for the fir which they put in the front garden of their new home in the village of Inkberrow, Worcs, in 1978 (pictured above) 

The tree in 2022, thousands of people now attend the Rowland’s house to their festive lights switch-on

The 78-year-old retired TV writer said: ‘It’s amazing to think that when we first bought the tree in 1978 we brought it home on the roof of my Mini.

‘We decided to plant the tree outside our window to mark our first Christmas in our new home.

‘Since then the tree has just shot up and is now an unofficial landmark in the village.

‘We love doing the Christmas lights. The tree can be seen from miles around on clear nights and people flock to see it.

‘It’s become something of a tradition for people in the village and beyond.

‘It even inspired me to write a children’s book about the tree called The Laxford House Christmas Tree.

‘It’s gone wild in the village. With the sale of the book, the tree has spanned generations in the village.’

The fir has been decorated so much over the years. In 2022, it boasted more than 3,000 twinkling lights – acting as the largest illumination in one of the UK’s darkest villages on account of there being no street lights.

Even though the price of energy has skyrocketed in recent times, the couple still have their lights switched on for two hours each night.  

The tree in 2019 boasted more than 3,000 twinkling lights – acting as the largest illumination in one of the UK’s darkest villages on account of there being no street lights

The tree is so tall a cherry picker is used to reach the top branches and add the star to the top, as shown by this snap from 2013

The fir, pictured here in 2022, has become one of the biggest landmarks in the village and even stars in a a new children’s book, written by Mrs Rowlands

The Rowland’s tree in the snow in 2010 – Over the years it has steadily grown and now towers their four-bedroom detached property

The couple celebrated 40 years of having the tree in their garden in 2018 

The couple, pictured here in 2019, ask for people who admire the lights to make a donation and over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for charity

Even though the price of energy has skyrocketed in recent times, the couple still have their lights switched on for two hours each night, as they did hear in 2019

Avril Rowlands standing outside her house with the tree in 1989 – this year the couple are raising money for a local charity which provides a foodbank for people struggling and shelter for the homeless

The couple ask for people who admire the lights to make a donation and over the years they have raised thousands of pounds for charity.

This year the Rowlands are raising money for a local charity which provides a foodbank for people struggling and shelter for the homeless.

Retired BBC editor Mr Rowlands, 79, said: ‘The tree is really special.

‘During Covid, we didn’t do the switch-on but it was lit. It was a like a beacon of hope. We are so grateful for the help we receive every year to light it up.

‘It’s become something of an annual tradition and long may it continue.

 

 

 

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