Belfast Telegraph

Fir goodness sake! Bushmills' shrub-bish Christmas tree gets chop after locals kick up stink

By Michelle Smyth

Is this the saddest Christmas tree in Northern Ireland?

The fir was erected in Bushmills last Friday and has been described as the worst in the UK.

The emaciated, dishevelled tree, that wouldn't look out of place in Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, was erected by Moyle District Council in the Diamond area of the town.

It now lies alone and rejected somewhere following public outcry and a social media campaign to remove it.

By lunchtime yesterday the tree had been ruthlessly uprooted, dumped somewhere and swiftly replaced with a newer, more conventionally attractive model.

Community worker Derwyn Brewster, who led the campaign, said: "It's possibly the worst tree I have ever set eyes on. It doesn't even resemble a Christmas tree in shape, it looked like a bush with a few protruding branches and didn't have a defined top. Whoever decided it would be acceptable needs to have a long, hard look at themselves. This is a tourist town and I would be embarrassed for visitors to see that excuse for a Christmas tree."

Mr Brewster added: "It actually looked more like a Halloween decoration. Some local children who attend a Friday night youth club near where the tree was erected remarked it looked really frightening, particularly in the dark when it was blowing in the wind. It looked alive, like a scary monster."

Locals took to social media to express their opinion on the scruffy festive feature.

Zaralee Lees wrote: "It looks like a person", while Diana Knox commented: "Someone put that thing out of its misery... go and plant it in some councillor's front garden". And Tracy Dobbin asked: "What is that?" Optimist Anne Quinn wrote: "A few decorations and it'll be grand."

"I am glad the powers that be listened to us and swiftly replaced the tree. This is a perfect example of the power of the people," Mr Brewster said.

"So what became of the unwanted tree? All I know is it was replaced and I'm happy with that. The new tree looks great and will look even better when the lights are switched on next month. Who knows where the old tree is, maybe it ran away!"

Chairman of Moyle District Council Donal Cunningham said the reason for such a dishevelled looking tree was because it was "probably ruined in transit or in a storm".

"When it was selected it was a good tree, but I admit, having looked at the pictures, it does look very bare on one side. Even the men who erected it said it didn't look as good after transit as it originally looked. We couldn't have replaced it any faster. The council places a great deal of importance on Christmas decorations and their power to lift a town." Other less than pretty trees that have hit the headlines include one that was erected in Stockton town centre in England last year.

The white pointed feature constructed by stretching a piece of material over a cone was branded a "disgrace", and compared to a dunce's hat and a wigwam.

Residents of a Pennsylvania town are currently raising money to replace a 50ft spruce topped with a lit-up pretzel that they say is "ruining" their holiday spirit.

So, is this the worst tree you have ever clapped eyes on?

Email us at newseditor@belfasttelegraph.co.uk with your opinions.

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