Published: 00:30, 17 December 2014 |
Updated: 14:53, 17 December 2014
A village Christmas tree dubbed a “weed on a stick” has been taken down after vandals attacked it at the weekend.
Dymchurch’s 3ft tree, next to the public toilets, was stuck on top of a sawn-off stump with scars where branches had been lopped off, sparking ridicule when it was unveiled last week.
Residents of the Romney Marsh village called it “appalling” and suggested it could be the worst Christmas tree in the country.
But after troublemakers first wrapped the fir in toilet paper and then broke its fairy lights, Dymchurch Parish Council decided to remove the Christmas tree and announced it would not be replaced.
Parish council clerk Gill Smith said: “Toilet paper was wrapped around tree on Saturday, which the chairman pulled down, and on Sunday evening vandals cut huge chunks of wire out of the lights, which cannot be repaired.
“All in all it is very disappointing and dispiriting. The trees will not be replaced.”
Ms Smith said she wished to explain the history of the village’s Christmas trees to people complaining about the current situation.
She said: “In November 2012, the parish council wanted to erect lights on lampposts for the entire length of the High Street and found a contractor to do so but Kent County Council would not grant permission because they claimed it could pull down the posts.
“Therefore, the parish council purchased new trees and erected them above shops, which has been the normal practice for several years. Several shops did not plug in the tree lights and the trees looked dismal over the Christmas period. The parish council received several complaints that it had wasted public money purchasing new trees.”
The parish council then surveyed all 40 businesses and shops in the High Street to find out what kind of festive display they would prefer and whether they would be willing to donate towards decorations.
Ms Smith continued: “Three responses were received, one for a central display and two for trees above the shops. The following Christmas, 2013, trees were erected above the shops and again only half put the lights on.
“This year, following the felling of a dead conifer tree by the district council, the parish council decided to put half the trees in a central position, to form a larger tree, and half were erected above the shops that always support the festive period in the village.
"A small central Christmas tree display was placed above a newly erected sign that has been produced by Marsh Academy and was unveiled last week with all the pupils present.
“Last weekend, the chairman was bombarded with complaints about the tree, saying how pathetic it looked. Some said there were no lights, but in fact there were 800 lights on the tree. Nobody has mentioned the delightful sign the children produced.”
Former Dymchurch parish councillor Richard Crispin, 60, when the tree was first revealed, said: “Our Christmas tree is bolted on top of a stump and it is probably Britain’s worst Christmas tree. It’s appalling and we deserve so much better.”
Eve Bird, 70, of Tritton Gardens, added: “Surely Dymchurch can do better than this. Our Christmas tree is like a great big weed growing out of the top of a stick."
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