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Hedgehog Christmas tree at St Mary-le-Tower church festival in Ipswich

PUBLISHED: 10:34 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 05 December 2016

Ipswich-based artist Lois Cordelia has created a Christmas tree topper based on the themes of hedgehogs, cycling and wildlife.

Ipswich-based artist Lois Cordelia has created a Christmas tree topper based on the themes of hedgehogs, cycling and wildlife.

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A prickly addition to a church Christmas tree festival is celebrating Suffolk's pioneering role in hedgehog preservation.

Lois Cordelia and Anna Matthews with the hedgehog Christmas tree.Lois Cordelia and Anna Matthews with the hedgehog Christmas tree.

The festive tree was created as part of a collaboration between Suffolk Wildlife Trust, Anna Matthews from Ipswich’s La Tour Cycle Café and artist Lois Cordelia.

It is on display at the St Mary-le-Tower Christmas Tree Festival in Tower Street, Ipswich until Wednesday.

The tree is adorned with hedgehog themed baubles created by children during a craft workshop at the cycle café . It was led by Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s newly appointed hedgehog officer, Ali North.

Baubles were created by children during a craft workshop at the cycle café led by Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s newly appointed hedgehog officer, Ali North.Baubles were created by children during a craft workshop at the cycle café led by Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s newly appointed hedgehog officer, Ali North.

On top of the tree sits a ‘topper’ made by Ms Cordelia and combines images of hedgehogs, wildlife and cycling, in tribute to the cycle café. The sculpture is cut out of paper and foamboard, using a surgical scalpel.

Ms Cordelia said: “I must admit, my first reaction was, ‘how on earth can I create a tree topper combining the themes of cycling and hedgehogs?’ But I love a challenge, especially when it helps raise awareness for an important cause, and it swiftly occurred to me that the teeth of bicycle gears can look a bit like hedgehog spines. My sculpture design is based on the five pointed star of a bicycle chainwheel, featuring hedgehogs and other wildlife inside the holes.”

The link-up between Ms Cordelia and Mrs Matthews follows a similar project last year which involved the creation of a cycling themed tree for the St Mary-le-Tower festival.

La Tour Cycle Cafe owner Anna Matthews with the cycle themed Christmas tree topper made by Lois Cordelia for the St Mary-le-Tower festival in 2015.La Tour Cycle Cafe owner Anna Matthews with the cycle themed Christmas tree topper made by Lois Cordelia for the St Mary-le-Tower festival in 2015.

It featured a sculpture by Ms Cordelia of an angel vaulting over a BMX bicycle, along with a host of miniature bicycles made by children during a pipe cleaner crafting workshop at the café

The hedgehog population is in worrying decline across Suffolk and the UK.

But there is a huge local effort underway to save the much-loved spiky characters thanks to a partnership involving the county wildlife trust, the People’s Trust for Endangered Species and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

The partnership, together with Heritage Lottery Fund support, led to Ms North’s appointment and now she begins a two-year task to “help the hog”.

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