Drab Christmas tree display now full of festive cheer
There might be lights - but it's not fantastic according to some disappointed residents.
Cabbie Neil Bland reckons Hetton’s annual Christmas tree display is a real let-down this year.
Rather than put a tree up especially, the town traditionally decorates one which is a permanent fixture: “The tree is actually there all year round but they put the lights on it at Christmas,” said taxi driver Neil, 48.
Council bosses said urgent improvement works were being carried out on Friday in the hope that the tree could be made to look more decorative.
“It used to look lovely, it really did, but this year when they have turned the lights on, there’s a set of about 20 at the top of the tree and that’s it.”
Neil shared a picture of the tree on a Hetton Facebook page and dozens of people commented.
Neil took mum Elizabeth - who is visually impaired - on a tour of local trees and all was well until they came to Hetton.
“Mum is registered blind and I took her to see Murton’s tree,” he said.
“Murton has got a nice tree, Easington Lane has got one - but when I came to show her Hetton’s tree, she couldn’t even see it.
“She could just about see the lights but it took her five minutes to focus on the tree.”
However, council bosses say that adverse weather conditions recently means that many lights on the tree have been left out of action.
They hope to improve the spectacle in the run-up to Christmas Day.
Hetton Town Council leader Coun Bob Heron said: “Hetton Town Council have used the tree as our Christmas tree for several years, but we are aware it is getting more difficult each year simply because of size and cost of lights and the need for specialist equipment to reach the top of the tree.
“Unfortunately due to the adverse weather conditions we suffered last weekend many of the lights are not working at present.
“Thankfully the contractor is on the case and arranging to make the necessary inspection and redecoration where necessary, at the earliest opportunity.
“I am delighted that the people of the town are interested and supportive of the Christmas activities, as every effort is made to secure a solution and bring Christmas cheer to all.”
The Redwood Tree was presented in the 1960s by a visiting choir which was on an exchange visit with Hetton Lyons Male Voice Choir from Canada to the town.
It was then a small tree of just 5ft.
It grows substantially each year, now reaching 30 metres high.