'Embarrassing' Christmas tree spruced up by Mottram residents
A council-bought Christmas tree branded an "embarrassment" due to its size and lack of decoration has spruced up by a Greater Manchester village.
Resident Rivkah Kneen said it "felt like a joke" when the tree went up.
Councillor Adam White agreed the tree looked "dreadful" but said council cuts had "scaled down" the budget.
The online group, named The Embarrassment Of Mottram Christmas Tree, has seen the tree being called "a weed", "sad" and "unbelievable".
One post stated that in previous years, the village had had "a huge, huge tree" but this one was "anorexic".
However, after people started posting pictures of themselves adding decorations to the tree, the local community decided to take charge of dressing the tree.
Ms Kneen said before she got involved, the tree had "one red bauble and a tilted star on top".
"That's what got the idea going. I thought 'if we all put one bauble on and we all come together, we can make it look beautiful' and that's what's happened."
Tameside Council stressed the tree is sustainable and designed to be a "one-off" that will eventually grow into something the whole community could enjoy.
Mr White said he understood the village had been "disappointed" but cuts to the council budget "affect everything".
"What might seem like a small budget item like a tree, when you add it up across 19 wards, is a big budget and has to be scaled down."
Ms Kneen said she was now glad the tree was like it was, as in previous years the community had no input into how it looked.
"We've got children involved and we're really taking part in decorating the tree."