Christmas tree crashes down in ‘most festive village’ after lights switch on

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Footage shared online shows the tree lying stricken on the ground after Storm Arwen roared across the country on Friday night. Hundreds had attended the Christmas lights switch-on in Audlem, Cheshire, and saw the tree – donated by a resident – stand imposingly above the pretty village.

It was ripped down from the central square by the storm but fortunately no one was hurt.

Construction workers having a festive night out in an adjacent pub rushed to help get the huge tree moved off the main roads to avoid any further danger.

Residents – including one who brought his tractor – were able to get the tree moved to sit by the side of the Parish Church of St James the Great at the heart of the village.

Devon White, an electrician, was among one of the first on the scene, Manchester Evening News says.

Devon, 57, said: “The lights switch on was brilliant there were lots of people out, but the winds started to get up just as people were leaving.

“We were sat in the pub at around 10.30pm when we got a shout to say the tree had gone down outside, so we all helped to move it.

“We’ve been doing an extension and renovations at the Methodist church in Audlem, so we had all the construction stuff close to hand and then a resident bought his tractor down to help as well. It was a great community effort to get the road cleared.”

Residents in Audlem are so proud of their community they pay an annual voluntary fee to fund flowers and Union Jacks to fly in the village all summer, then in winter they are replaced with mini Christmas trees adorning every shop wall.

A volunteer committee called Audlem District Amenities Society (ADAS) work in their spare time to make the village look so good and plan the Christmas light switch on event.

ADAS chairman Neil Goodyear said: “We were monitoring weather hour by hour on Friday and decided the event could go ahead knowing strong gusts would hit us later on.

“The wind was blowing down Cheshire street into the square and it was about 22.15 when a very strong gust snapped the tree.

“We managed to get a team of people together to get tree off the road including East Midlands building team who are working in the village, a local farming contractor with his tractor and our ADAS tree team.”

On Saturday the volunteers continued the tidy up, while planning how to re-erect the tree on Sunday.

Neil said: “We are planning to trim the bottom and top of the tree, lift it off the pavement and assess damage to the lights underneath it, fix it and drop it back into the hole.”

Audlem is at the southernmost edge of Cheshire near Nantwich, and is close to both the Shropshire and Staffordshire borders.

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