Christmas tree put up before Poppy Day service removed
A council has been left red-faced after putting up a town centre Christmas tree much too early.
The tree appeared in Coleraine Square on Thursday, but the news came as a surprise to the local Royal British Legion, who hold their annual Remembrance service at the same location.
Yesterday morning, after being contacted by the British Legion, the tree had to be hastily removed to allow the service to take place.
Coleraine RBL Branch president Bill Mills contacted Causeway Coast and Glens Council to inform them of the difficulty.
Mr Mills said: "People were concerned the tree was going up too early.
"To be fair, once the council were informed of the situation, they moved very quickly to take it down again on Friday morning."
The early arrival of the festive season was shared on social media on Thursday night. Scores of people questioned why the tree was being put in place before the annual commemoration.
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"Total disgrace. Does no one believe in honouring those who gave their lives for us? Lest we forget. Time enough next week for all things Christmas," said one.
Another posted: "Who in their right mind would decide to put a Christmas tree up at the cenotaph three days before we remember all the great fallen in all wars?"
While there was community anger at the early appearance of the tree, the Royal British Legion said they were happy the situation had been resolved.
"We know the council have 24 trees to put up every year," said Mr Mills. "We're happy the tree was swiftly removed to allow for our Remembrance service."
The council said that the tree will be back in place early next week.
A spokesperson said: "Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council removed the Christmas tree from Coleraine town centre on Friday after listening to concerns raised by members of the local community.
"The tree will be put back in place at some stage next week.
"It is normal procedure to begin putting Christmas trees in place from early November to facilitate a large number of switch-on events taking place in different parts of the borough."