A Worcestershire village which is one of the darkest in Britain is now all lit up - thanks to a family's Christmas tree.
Inkberrow is one of the few villages in the country which doesn't have a single street light, meaning in the autumn and winter when night falls it is completely dark.
But thanks to a £6 fir tree planted 43 years ago, residents have some light at night during December.
The tree now stands more than 50ft tall and is so high, it can only be decorated using a cherry picker.
It stands in the front garden of Avril and Christopher Rowlands who paid £6 for the fir from a garden centre a year after moving into their home in the Worcestershire village in 1978.
Incredibly, over the years the tree took root and 43 years later the tree now towers over their detached home in the village near Redditch.
Inkberrow - which is most famous for its 17th Century pub The Old Bull inspiring Radio 4's The Archers - does not have any street lights, making it one of the darkest places in the UK during winter.
So the annual lighting-up of the Rowlands' tree at the start of December is now a huge festive occasion and this year more than 2,000 residents turned out for the big day.
The tree is lit up with 3,000 lights and Avril and Christopher have to hire a cherry picker to do it. It is now a Worcestershire landmark and can be seen for miles around.
Avril, aged 75, a retired TV writer, said: "Inkberrow is one of the only villages in the UK which has no street lights so when the tree is lit up it really is quite a spectacle.
"The tree has become a big part of our lives and the switching on of the lights has become quite a village tradition. A lot of people in the village say that it's the start of their Christmas.
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"We even get cards addressed to the tree which is quite sweet."
Avril said because of Covid restrictions last year they had to do the switch-on by themselves and post the pictures on Facebook.
“It’s been wonderful to see so many people enjoy the lights this year," she said.
"We were still cautious though - the road slopes so people could still view the switch-on and be distanced from each other.
"We've had fireworks too this year, plus who a friend who brought down a trailer which had Christmas music on."
As well as providing some festive twinkle, the tree also raises money for charity with the Rowlands asking people to donate to Cancer Research online.
The couple admit they are still stunned by the size of their tree, which grows more than 1ft each year.
Avril said: "We moved up to the village from London in 1978 for a more meaningful life.
"We saw that the local post office had a Christmas tree which was covered in fairy lights and it really stood out.
"When Christmas was over that year we didn't want to just throw the tree out so we planted it in the front garden.
“We had no idea just how big it would grow. It’s absolutely huge now and towers over our house.”
Source : https://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/couple-stunned-6-christmas-tree-223977431117