IT MAY only be 2ft tall but this Christmas tree is probably Britain’s oldest — after 97 years with the same family.
Elizabeth Naylor bought it in Woolworths in Sheffield in 1920, and called it William’s tree as it marked her eldest son’s first Christmas.
Sadly William died in 1940, but the artificial spruce became his memorial as the family decorated it each year, using the original trimmings.
It is now in the care of Elizabeth’s granddaughter Kay Ashton, who inherited it from her own mother, Joyce.
Kay, 63, revealed how the tree was damaged during the Sheffield Blitz in 1941. A bomb landed in the street and the force blew open the back door and sent her grandmother’s iron mangle flying into the tree.
‘The top of it had nearly come off and it’s been bent ever since, but it was fixed with Sellotape and wire — some of the original bits of tape are still on the tree. It’s a great piece of history and I’m so glad to have it. It’s outlived two generations and even the shop it was bought from, so it’s obviously made of strong stuff. I get it out every year and it takes pride of place in my living room.’
Kay is confident her daughters and granddaughters will continue the tradition. ‘We’ll definitely have to have a party when it reaches 100,’ she said. Yesterday we revealed how Britain’s oldest fairy lights are still burning bright after 48 years, without a single bulb being replaced. They were also bought in Woolworths, in 1969.
■ CHILDREN told pollsters they are often disappointed by presents from their grandparents. One in seven said their Christmas gift was boring, while nearly a quarter claimed it was inappropriate for their age, SunLife said. One seven-year-old was given aftershave, while a Newcastle United fan was left speechless after unwrapping a Fulham kit.