Ipswich Christmas tree campaigner expresses delight at return of real tree
A Rushmere campaigner who gathered nearly 1,500 signatures in a successful petition to bring a real Christmas tree back to Ipswich town centre has said she is thrilled with the new tree.
Sylvia Mitchell, 53, from Rushmere St Andrew began a petition in August last year calling for the artificial bauble tree which had been set up on the Cornhill each year since 2012 to be replaced with a real tree.
Mrs Mitchell had argued that the bauble tree was an “eyesore” that stopped people coming into Ipswich at Christmas.
Having collected 1,472 signatures last year from people around town, including shops, the petition was handed in to the borough council.
In November last year she was told a real tree would be returning to the town centre.
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“I was glad because I had so many people say they didn’t like the bauble tree and they wanted a real tree back,” she said.
“It looks a lot better and it encourages the shoppers. I see that it brought a lot more shoppers for the switch on than last year.”
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Despite not being a fan of the bauble tree, Mrs Mitchell said the Waterfront was a location much more suited to its design.
“I have heard a lot of people say it looks a lot better down there,” she said.
“It’s more suited to the area there and this [real tree] is really for this area.”
After the widespread support for the return of a real tree to the Cornhill, Ipswich Central supported by the Ipswich Star organised a 40ft tree from Elveden Farms Ltd to be installed.
Last night, an unveiling ceremony organised by Ipswich Borough Council took place, with the lights switched on by Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber, 91-year-old John Morley, who abseiled down the side of the maternity block at Ipswich Hospital earlier in the year to raise money for charity, and the panto dame.
The switch-on is believed to have been one of the biggest in recent years.
Representatives for Ipswich Borough Council said: “We were delighted with the turn-out on the Cornhill, when around 5,000 people turned up to greet the return of a real tree.
“This was one of the biggest switch-on events we’ve had for many years and we are glad we now have two trees for people to enjoy.”