Couple's Christmas tree planted in 1979 is now 42ft village landmark

Chris Parsons
Yahoo! News
Towering: The Rowlands' tree looms over their home in Worcestershire (SWNS)

When Avril and Chris Rowlands planted their tiny Christmas tree at the end of the 1970s, they thought it would simply be a nice festive addition to their front garden.

But 32 years later, the small festive pine which cost them just £6 has grown into a giant 42ft tree which now towers over the roof of their semi-detached home.

The modest garden centre addition has grown continually for three decades and is now so big it is considered a village landmark outside their home in Inkberrow, Worcs.

The tree outside the Rowlands' home is the focal point of the community, but has become so large they can only decorate it each year with the help of a cherry picker.

Each year it is decorated with over 1,000 traditional tungsten bulbs using machinery loaned by a local firm.

TV writer Avril, 67, took a festive snap of the tree when they bought it in 1978, and has since catalogued its growth over the years with more photos.

She said: "We saw that the local post office had a Christmas Tree which was covered in fairy lights and it really stood out.

"Because of our position in the village we decided to do the same thing so planted the tree when we moved in.

"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."

The couple's tree now has its own light switch-on ceremony which attracts people from all over village, and the tree itself even receives its own Christmas cards.

Avril added: "A lot of people in the village say that it's the start of their Christmas."

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 Midlands Air Ambulance.

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."