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Delight as news Ipswich's real Christmas tree will return as the festive season gets underway in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 06:00 08 November 2016

Ipswich resident,Sylvia Mitchell launched a petition to bring back a traditional Christmas tree to the Cornhill.

Ipswich resident,Sylvia Mitchell launched a petition to bring back a traditional Christmas tree to the Cornhill.

Sarah Lucy brown

The Ipswich mother who campaigned for the return of a real Christmas tree to the town's Cornhill has welcomed the news that a traditional tree will return in 2017.

This year will be the fifth Christmas with a modern white decoration at the heart of the town’s festivities – the lights will be switched on by mayor Roger Fern on Thursday week.

But for the next five Christmases, starting in 2017, there will be a real tree supplied by Ipswich Central and supported by the Ipswich Star.

The news comes following a campaign by 52-year-old Sylvia Mitchell who launched an online petition for the return of a traditional tree.

She got more than 1,000 signatures for the petition which was presented to Ipswich Borough Council.

Now the council is waiting to hear from Ipswich Central about the plans to bring back a real tree from 2017.

Mrs Mitchell said: “I am pleased to hear that a real tree is going to come back, although I hope it will be for more than five years.

“I know a lot of people have been put off coming to Ipswich for their Christmas shopping over the last few years because there isn’t a real tree here. I hope that will change.”

But while a real tree will be returning to the Cornhill from next year, this is unlikely to be the last Christmas you can see the modern decoration.

That is owned by the borough, and we understand that officials are looking at alternative sites for it once a real tree has supplanted it in the Cornhill.

It might be installed somewhere on the Waterfront from next Christmas, possibly near the University of Suffolk building near the restaurants and bars – or placed on Tower Ramparts where it would be the first decoration seen by visitors arriving from the new multi-storey car park or the town bus station.

The borough is also seeking clarification about the costs of managing the Cornhill – while Ipswich Central has said it will provide the tree for the next five years, there are costs of managing and providing security for a real tree.

There is more than a year to sort out these issues.

In the meantime, plans for this year’s big switch-on are nearing a climax. An evening of entertainment will start at 5pm with the lights going on about 6.45pm on the first late-night shopping of the season on Thursday, November 17.

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