Trafalgar Square Christmas tree gets vital 'branch transplant'

Trafalgar Square Christmas tree gets vital ‘branch transplant’ to transform threadbare Norwegian gift into London landmark

  • The Trafalgar Square tree has been gifted from Norway every year since 1947 

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has received a vital ‘branch transplant’ to transform this year’s threadbare Norwegian gift into the iconic London landmark.

The famous tree was subject to scathing reviews this festive season when it arrived from Norway yesterday, with some even calling for it to be ‘sent back’.

After making the 1,000-mile journey to the capital, the sorry-looking tree was in poor condition, with one side having hardly any branches on it at all. 

But the spindly specimen received a much-needed spruce up when tree surgeons took some pre-cut branches and installed them on the tree’s bald patches.

The ‘half-dead’ fir, which will be lit in a ceremony on December 7, was felled in Norway in late November, per tradition, before being shipped to one of the capital’s most iconic tourist locations.

The spindly specimen received a much-needed spruce up when tree surgeons took some pre-cut branches and installed them on the tree’s bald patches. Pictured left: The tree when it arrived. Pictured right: The tree after the ‘transplant’

Workers prepare the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, in London, Monday, December 4

READ MORE – Unimpressed onlookers give their scathing reviews of ‘half dead’ Trafalgar Square Christmas tree after threadbare spruces popping up in towns across the UK spark ridicule 

But as the 62ft tree, which was grown in the Nordmarka forests just north of Oslo, was unveiled many took to social media to point out that parts of the tree appeared spindly and brown. 

The disappointing reveal comes just days after other residents in multiple towns across the UK have slammed local councils for unveiling some of the saddest looking evergreens ahead of the festive season.

However, tree surgeons contracted by the Greater London Authority stepped in to perform the ‘branch transplant’ to transform it into a more suitable state.

They took healthier branches from one side and hammered them into place on the side where it was lacking life so it looked less lopsided.

The result is a fuller, more symmetrical tree to grace the capital’s Trafalgar Square.

In March, Cambridgeshire, locals slammed the town’s wonky tree, calling the loosely decorated tree ’embarrassing’ and comparing it to the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

A 62ft  spruce grown in Nordmarka in the forests north of Oslo, is installed at Trafalgar Square

LONDON: The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree looked rather flattened after its long journey

NORWAY: Trafalgar Square’s 62-foot tree looked magnificent as it was felled in late November before making its way to London

GREATER MANCHESTER: Others across the country have also slammed their local Christmas Trees. In Hattersley in Hyde locals slammed their tree as ‘shocking’, with pictures showing the threadbare spruce missing some of its boughs, while the ones remaining appear very thin

Meanwhile, furious members of the public in Hattersley in Hyde, were left shocked after its Christmas spruce was revealed with most of its pine needles missing. 

Those in Walsall blasted its ‘Scoorge’ council for its ‘shabby Christmas tree, which had barely any lights on in a bid to save cash.

READ HERE: We ONLY want wonky Christmas trees now! Town once split over its festive evergreen fall in love with its ‘quirky and funny’ look – and demand the same again next year

 The BBC also came under fire for its Christmas tree outside its Broadcasting House in Portland Place in London. 

Employees of the broadcaster criticised the tree, calling it a ‘bit stark’, while another  joked that ‘very very little time or licence fee money was spent’ on the spruce which is noticeably different in comparison to previous years. 

Television Director Leigh Butcher said: ‘Can confirm that very very little time or licence fee money was spent on the Broadcasting House tree this year.’

Fellow Television Director Rob Jones claimed it’s ‘impactful from a distance’, while former BBC journalist Robert Rea admitted it was a ‘bit bare’. 

None have been criticised as much as the prominent Trafalgar Square tree, however, which is has been gifted by Norway every year since 1947, in recognition of the UK’s support during World War Two.

The gift began when Norway was invaded in 1940, and the King of Norway sought refuge in the UK and established the Norwegian government-in-exile. 

After pictures emerged showing the tree being felled, keen-eyed fans were quick to point out that they hoped it was better than last year’s offering.

The 2022 tree was widely mocked by Londoners on social media after it appeared rather skinny and threadbare.

One person said: ‘They are taking the p**s that ain’t a Christmas tree. Well it is but it’s not what we expect. Send it back.’ 

Another joked: ‘At what point will they give up the pretence and just send us a log?’ 

Others questioned ‘why would they bring us a dead tree?’ and ‘Is it me or does it look quite dead?’

Social media users were also quick to joke Norway had only delivered ‘half the tree’. 

LONDON: A tree has been sent by Norway ever since the World War Two in recognition of Britain’s help 

Those on social media were quick to poke fun at the tree in Trafalgar Square that was revealed

WEST MIDLANDS: Elsewhere, locals have blasted ‘Scrooge’ Walsall Council for its ‘Shabby’ Christmas Tree near to St Paul’s Bus Station, which has had barely any lights put on it in a bid to save cash  

CAMBRIDGESHIRE: The festive tree in March was put up earlier this month but many of those living in the area noted how sharply it is leaning to the side

Another seeing the more humorous side said: ‘Judging by the photos of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree being felled last week in Norway and arriving today, it’s been transported as hand luggage on Ryanair.’

READ MORE: Let’s hope it better than last year’s! Norwegian Christmas tree is cut down ready for Trafalgar Square… after the 2022 spruce was mocked as ‘pathetic’

‘Ok, own up, who switched out the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree for one from Wish mid-journey?’ someone else asked. 

‘That’s only half the tree. Explains the recession in Norway,’ quipped one user. A second added: ‘Where’s the other half of it?’

It is being erected by a specialist rigging team, who will also be unflattening its branches, and a crane. 

The tree will be decorated in traditional Norwegian fashion with vertical strings and lights.

Patricia McAllister, Lord Mayor of Westminster, joined British Ambassador Jan Thompson for the official tree felling ceremony in Norway.

It was hosted by Oslo Mayor Anne Lindboe, who was seen helping saw down the fir.

It comes as a 40ft Christmas tree was put up at the Houses of Parliament to mark the beginning of the Christmas season.

The Sitka spruce was selected from the Kielder Forest, Northumberland, and will stand at the foot of Big Ben.

King Haakon VII of Norway made popular broadcasts to his country via the BBC while in exile during the Second World War. 

Aware that he was likely to be found and apprehended by the Nazis after the invasion of neutral Norway in April 1940, he slept in his uniform, fearful they would be able to publish humiliating photographs of him in pyjamas. 

Denmark surrendered just six hours after Hitler’s troops crossed its border. To do otherwise would be to risk further bloodshed and almost certain defeat. But Haakon and his government were determined Norway would not collaborate with the Nazis.

His broadcasts from Britain reminded Norwegians to keep their values and his moral fortitude cheered them, just as he was cheered by the defiance of the greater part of the Norwegian people.

Rather than saying ‘when we win the war’, he spoke of the day he would ‘come home’. Loyalty to their constitutional monarch provided the focus for the Norwegian resistance.

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