"We planted our Christmas tree in 1978 - it's now 50ft tall"

A couple's first Christmas tree they planted in 1978 now stands 50ft tall and attracts thousands of people to their festive lights switch-on. Avril and Christopher Rowlands paid £6 for the fir which they put in their new home in the pretty village of Inkberrow, Worcs. After enjoying their first Christmas in 1978, the couple planted the tree outside in the front garden. Over the years it has steadily grown and it now towers over their four-bedroom detached property – measuring a whopping 50ft (15.24m). Each December the couple decorate their giant fir with thousands of fairy lights which they 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 lit tree is one of the brightest landmarks in Inkberrow - which is one of UK’s darkest villages on account of there being no street lights. Avril and Christopher’s fir now attracts thousands of people who view their tree every December and it even stars in a new children’s book. Retired TV writer Avril, 78, who penned the book, 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." Retired BBC editor Christopher, 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." 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 couple are raising money for a local charity which provides a foodbank for people struggling and shelter for the homeless. The couple cut down on their own electricity bill by having the lights switched on for just two hours each night.