Just as the lights on the Trafalgar Square Tree from Norway go on, at 6pm tonight, Steph prepares to fly to Oslo for the weekend.
Hoping that despite the closure of Gatwick, her alternative flight from Stansted will happen!
A Norwegian spruce tree, between 50 and 60 years old, in the forest near Ullevalseter in Nordmarka, just outside the city of Oslo has been selected to become one of the most famous trees in the world.
On 23rd November 2010, people gathered around the tree. Two Mayors, Fabian Stang, the Mayor of Oslo, and the Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Judith Warner.
After speeches, cake and coffee, and Christmas carols sung by children from Maridalen Skole and the International School of Oslo, the cutting of the tree began.
The Mayor of Oslo and the Lord Mayor of Westminster made the initial ceremonial cuts into the tree, after which forestry workers completed the felling of the tree.
The tree was loaded onto a ship for its journey to the United Kingdom. Once it reached England, it continued to London by lorry. Now in Trafalgar Square, the tree was carefully erected and decorated with strings of lights [with energy efficient light bulbs!] The British Ambassador to Norway, Jane Owen said "The annual gift of the Christmas Tree demonstrates the close historical and current relations that have existed between Norway and the UK since World War 2. This year, as well as turning on the lights in Trafalgar Square, the Mayor of Oslo will take advantage of his visit to host a Norway / UK renewable energy seminar for industry and officials in London. 60% of the UK's imported gas now comes from Norway and over 70% of our imported oil."
A plaque at the foot of the tree reads:
‘This tree is given by the city of Oslo as a token of Norwegian gratitude to the people of London for their assistance during the years 1940-1945. A tree has been given annually since 1947’
The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree forms the focal point for the traditional singing of Christmas carols in the Square. This year, different groups will be singing to raise money every evening between 7th and 22nd December. Here is last year’s tree
So thank you to the Norwegians – both for the tree, and for the gas and oil which is keeping us warm!
And bon voyage, Steph – looking forward to hearing all about your trip when you return.[Watch out for the Vikings!]