CHRISTMAS2018-12-09T12:43:56+00:00

Inkberrow 50 foot Christmas Tree

LAXFORD HOUSE CHRISTMAS TREE

2018 – 40th Anniversary!

Help us raise money this year for the

MIDLANDS AIR AMBULANCE

In 1978 Chris and I planted a tree in the front garden of our new house. Bought from a local garden centre our tree travelled to its new home on the roof-rack of my small white Mini. That Christmas we decorated it with six lights. Living in a village with no street lighting and situated at the bottom of the Pepper Street hill, our tree shone out bravely, if diminutively, that year.

Trees have a habit of growing and as it grew, each year we purchased more lights. We soon needed to stand on a stepladder to reach the top. A few years later Chris designed an ingenious pole to hook the lights on the top branches. This pole was extended year by year until, even standing on the top step of the ladder with the pole fully extended, we could no longer reach the top. Help came first from a local contractor who had a cherry picker and since 2005 we’ve been indebted to Paul Davis of S.E. Davis & Son who, together with a couple of friends, has come with a high-rise platform to put up the lights and take them down each new year.

In 1984 two friends helped us dig a trench from the front door across the lawn to the tree to enable us to embed a pipe so that we could install a permanent electric supply. Putting lights on the tree was now getting serious ! Chris would start checking the sets in October and, having taken them down, it would take well into the new year before they were all tested, repaired and stowed in our loft.

Now over 40ft high, we need 1000 lights to decorate it. The old-fashioned incandescent bulbs we use are getting increasingly hard to source. We are grateful to be able to purchase sets from the Severn Valley Railway as the heritage railway changes to LEDs for lighting their Father Christmas grotto. We don’t think LEDs would work on our tree as they are very bright and would change the nature of the almost magical effect of the present bulbs. We underrun the lights, both to give a slightly traditional effect and to ensure the bulbs last longer.

The tree attracts a lot of attention in the village and for many years we have raised money for various charities. We first had a lighting up ceremony in 2009, when Kay Alexander of Midlands Today kindly came to switch them on. Since then our tree has raised money for many different charities, including the Alzheimer’s Society, Help for Heroes, First Responders, Cancer Research UK, The Stroke Association, St. Richard’s Hospice, the Acorn Children’s Hospice, The Lighthouse Charity, Midlands Air Ambulance, and the Cardiac Care Unit of Royal Hospital (who saved Chris’s life when he had a heart attack).

Like the tree, the lighting up event has grown over the years. With the kind assistance of friends and neighbours we serve coffee and mince pies, warmed in the smokebox of Paul Davis’s Foden steam lorry or traction engine; a fairground organ playing festive music and fireworks. This year we had an 1890s children’s roundabout through the kind generosity of sponsors.

And generosity has been, over the years, very humbling to Chris and I. The generosity of Paul Davis, of Mike Green with his fairground organ, of the many helpers, and especially the generosity of the people of Inkberrow in raising substantial amounts for our chosen charities. Thank you, all of you,!

Over the years the tree has attracted substantial media attention, both in the press and on radio and television. It has been twice featured on BBC Midlands Today, twice on ITV Central News, ITN network news, and a number of times on BBC Hereford & Worcester local radio. This year the tree also featured in a BBC Christmas food programme. Some of the press coverage has been so bizarrely inaccurate it’s made us laugh but, as they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and providing it raises more money for charity we’re happy.

Now 40 years old and 50+ ft high our tree is showing its age – as, of course are Chris and I! But as long as we still live at Laxford House and remain fit and able, the tree will be lit over the Christmas period and we hope it will bring a lot of pleasure to everyone who sees it and continue to raise a lot of money for charity.

Translate this site »