70 festive firs bring Christmas cheer to Kirklees
Nov 11 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IT’S not your usual Christmas shopping list.
But Kirklees Council parks officers Naomi Goddard and Maryke Woods were set the task of buying 70 giant Christmas trees.
And now all the hard work has paid off as next week the festive firs will be delivered to Huddersfield and its surrounding towns and villages.
Naomi and Maryke have ordered 40-foot trees for Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres.
And 30-foot trees will be erected in Cleckheaton and Batley.
The four large trees were hand-picked by Naomi and Maryke from the Forestry Commission’s Kielder Forest in Northumberland.
The smaller ones, sponsored by parish councils, Town and Valley Committees, community groups and private businesses, have come from Norfolk.
Naomi, from Calderdale, said: “It’s just like getting the right Christmas tree for your home but on a much larger scale.
“It’s important to get the right size and a nice shape with no brown or broken branches – and to be sure it’s going to fit.
“That’s why Dewsbury’s 40-foot tree has a narrower girth at the bottom than Huddersfield’s 40-foot tree because it has to fit in the space in front of Dewsbury Town Hall without the bottom branches spreading over into the road.”
Naomi and Maryke began shopping for the trees early in October so they could get the pick of the best.
Maryke, from Longwood, said: “The trees that are available to us are isolated specimens that have sprouted in areas throughout the forest.
“Instead of chopping them down, the Forestry Commission – working with the Elveden Estate – allow them to grow to the size local authorities want and then thin them out by selling them for Christmas.
“This makes it financially feasible – a specially grown specimen of this height would be far too expensive to consider.”
It will take two weeks to get all the trees up and in place in time for the light switch-on celebrations.
Huddersfield has no official tree light switch-on due to the Festival of Light celebrations which are planned for St George’s Square.
But parks officers hope to have the tree twinkling before Sunday December 5.
Switch-ons are scheduled for: Cleckheaton on Saturday November 20 at 6.30pm, Dewsbury on Saturday November 27 at 5pm and Batley on Thursday December 2 at 6.30pm.
Huddersfield’s Christmas lights switch-on is on Thursday November 18.