Gosport Xmas tree straightened after storm

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT HIGH STEET’S Christmas Tree has been reinstalled by contractors earlier this week, making it the third change to the main feature in just ten days either side of last weekend’s cancelled lights switch on event.

Gosport Borough Council had brought in a tree replacement after the original was damaged in transit, but residents quickly noted its Tower of Pisa-like appearance with the above photograph circulated widely on social media.

In response residents have since voiced their mixed opinions about the tree design earlier this week; marking an improvement from the 2019 decoration that saw the council slammed for the tree’s style and scale with limited festive feeling in the high street.

And following last year’s limited festivities due to Covid-19, the council have now strengthened their decorations with increased focus around the Town Hall and lights now featuring on larger stretches of the high street in comparison to recent years.

However last weekend’s Christmas light switch-on was cancelled at short notice due to Storm Arwen, which saw 50mph gusts hit the South Coast and heavy rain showers causing disruption. All entertainment was cancelled and quickly rescheduled for a similar event on December 18, with the lights completed remotely last Saturday evening.

It also appears that this severe weather is at fault for the ‘wonky’ tree, with one local resident saying to BBC News:  “It was a pity about the weather, that it was cancelled, but other places went on. I watched the tree being taken off the lorry the other night and they had a dreadful time with the wind.”

But after work by contractors on the tree this week, completed in calmer weather, the feature have been made safe and it’s appearance has now been improved. This was confirmed by Council Leader Graham Burgess who is quoted as saying in a statement made public during the week:

“I believe the tree was straightened. It was at an angle, the contractors came back – I do know that yesterday they were doing things to it”.

He added: “We have delivered again in the sense of providing Christmas decorations despite the situation we’re in at the moment with the pandemic. I hope that we can get through Christmas without a further lockdown and I hope that people can enjoy themselves but take care.”

PICTURED BY LIZZIE ELSHAW: Residents attempt to hold the Christmas tree upright