England

Herefordshire Christmas tree decorates Downing Street

Tree outside Downing Street Image copyright Dan Kitwood
Image caption The Nordmann Fir took 17 years to reach its height of 20ft (about six metres)

The Christmas tree outside the Prime Minister's residence has been lit up for the first time this season.

The 20ft (6.1m) Nordmann Fir took 17 years to grow and was transported from its Herefordshire farm in the early hours of Sunday.

Workers outside Number 10 Downing Street used a cherry picker to adorn the tree with baubles and fairy lights.

Colin and Davina Griffith provided the tree after winning grower of the year at an annual competition in October.

The couple, who own Dinmore Hill Trees at Festive Farm in Wellington, attended the ceremony and said the dressed tree "looked fantastic".

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Media captionDavid and Samantha Cameron watched as the lights were switched on

'Pull the other one'

Mr and Mrs Griffith also provided the tree in 2007 but were not as impressed with its decoration.

"That year it had red and orange baubles and lights on. It looked like it was covered in melons.

"This year, with the white lights, it looks more like snowballs. It looks much better," Mr Griffith said.

Three growers won Downing Street honours at the British Christmas Tree Growers Association awards, with Rob Morgan from Gower in Swansea providing a tree for inside Number 10, and Brian Taylor from Allensmore Nurseries in Hereford supplying the wreath for its door.

Image copyright BBC/Getty
Image caption A Nordmann fir is in the pillared state dining room, and a wreath of fir and holly hangs on the main door

The transportation of the main tree was not without its hiccups, Mr Griffith said.

Because it was too large to be contained in a net, it was loaded on to the back of a lorry and strapped down.

"About three miles away from Wellington, the flat-bed got pulled over by the police to check the load.

"They asked where the driver was going, and when he said he was off to Downing Street, the police were like 'yeah, yeah. Pull the other one'."

How to spot the perfect Christmas tree

  • A natural shape
  • Dense foliage
  • Well sheared
  • A rich green colour
  • Not too wide, too tall or too thin
  • No stalks sticking out

Source: British Christmas Tree Growers Association

Image copyright Dinmore Christmas Trees
Image caption Large trees are transported on the back of a flat bed lorry

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