CHRISTMAS tree growers from Hereford have helped mark the official start of the festive season at Downing Street.
Back in October, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association staged its annual event to find which grower would be responsible for Number 10’s main trees, and for the wreath to decorate its front door.
Meanwhile, Brian Taylor, of Allensmore Nurseries in Hereford, won the prize for best wreath.
Both proud growers – together with their family – last night attended Downing Street for a special event in which the Christmas tree lights were turned on amid a backdrop of festive carols and the all-important appearance by Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife, Samantha.
The Hereford winners were also joined by fellow British Christmas Tree Grower Association member, Rob Morgan – from Wales. Following October’s competition he was declared runner up and was responsible for a second Christmas tree at Downing Street – this time to be placed in the Pillared Room of Number 10.
All three were treated to a tour inside Downing Street and were congratulated by the Prime Minister for their efforts.
Colin, who attended with his wife Davina, and had previously won the competition in 2007, said: “It was a wonderful evening and the decorated tree looks fantastic.”
Over 100 growers took part in this year’s national competition, with prizes awarded by John Howell, Conservative MP for Henley.
Each farmer, who spends around 10 years nurturing the tree to full ‘competition’ height, is able to enter categories including Best Nordman, Best Other Fir, Best Pine, Best Norway Spruce, Best Other Spruce, Best Container Grown, and Best Festive Wreath.
Finalists were permitted to submit only one tree into each category, and trees entered must be commercially cultivated and be 1.8 metres ( +/- 400mms) high from base to tip. Each is judged for foliage, colour, shape and marketability.
Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, said: “We were delighted to be able to attend Downing Street for this special event and in particular, to be welcomed inside Number 10 for an informative and fascinating tour.”