Councillor Sarah Miller who officially stepped down from her Mayoral role on Tuesday evening was delighted to be able to go with new Henley Mayor, Councillor Kellie Hinton, to the Tree Barn in Christmas Common to choose the large Christmas tree for Market Place before she starts her breast cancer treatment next week.
The two Councillors were driven by Andrew Ingram, Owner of the Tree Barn off road, on a bumpy ride to a field where the large Nordmann Fir trees had grown over 25 years.
Andrew said, “I’m very pleased and honoured to provide this tree again this year. We’ve supplied the town with a tree since 2015. This is a lovely tree. The shape is good, it’s full, it has a decent leader (top of the tree) and it’s the right height (28/29 feet). We have over 120,000 trees of four varieties, with 16-17,000 new ones being planted each year. It is 5 or 6 years before we start harvesting them and we gradually thin them out to allow them to grow this tall. We’ve been seriously affected by deer eating the tops of the trees so we have had to put in deer fencing this year.”
Sarah said, “I am delighted to be here, it’s really exciting to be here as I love Christmas. It is quite sad that it is my last outing but I will be out and about. I’m looking forward to seeing it dressed along with all the lights in Henley. I think Henley is going to look great. It’s lovely to come here with Kellie. It’s always good fun looking for the right Christmas tree and it’s a very important job. I think we’ve found a real corker!”
Kellie who had chosen the tree the last time she was Mayor in 2016 added, “It is the same wonderful experience. It’s lovely to come up here and see Andrew and visit the Tree Barn. Andrew has a lot of experience and knowledge so he is able to guide us and show us trees for Henley and we get to decide. It’s a lot of fun on the ride out to the trees from the main road. It is even more fun to be here with Sarah to choose it together.”
The Tree Barn has been selected to supply the large Christmas tree for outside No 10 Downing Street 3 times. Andrew explained, “There are 400 Christmas tree growers in the UK and everyone can enter the competition which takes place in October to be picked for the tree. You enter your best 8ft tree to be judged. We’ll have to wait and see if we get picked again.”
The Tree Barn opens for selling Christmas Trees to the public on Saturday 18 November.
The lights on the Christmas tree will be switched on by a celebrity at the Christmas Festival on Friday 24 November.