Christmas tree growers mark festive season at Downing Street

Two award-winning Christmas Tree businesses last night played a very special role in the start of the festive season, at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

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Two award-winning Christmas Tree businesses last night played a very special role in the start of the festive season, at the Prime Minister’s official residence.

Oxfordshire’s Tree Barn and Guildford’s Santa Fir took part in the lights ‘switch on’ at Downing Street, in recognition of their trees, and a wreath, being chosen to feature at Number 10.

Back in October, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association staged its annual event to find which grower would be responsible for Number 10’s main trees, and for the wreath to decorate its front door.

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Andrew Ingram, from Christmas Common in Watlington, was the winner of the competition and chosen to provide the tree for outside the official residence. It is the THIRD time Andrew has held the honour.

Hans Alexandersen, who owns Santa Fir with his wife Julie and was runner up in the competition and was selected to provide a tree for the Pillared Room. He was also crowned winner of the Best Wreath category at the competition, and therefore provided the wreath for the door of Number 10.

Teams from both businesses attended last night’s event, witnessing Prime Minister David Cameron announce the switch-on, before getting to meet him personally.

“It was such a wonderful event and great to feel acknowledged for both our tree and wreath,” said Hans.

“We’ve had the privilege of attending a previous switch-on a few years ago as the runner up of the Christmas Tree Association’s competition, but this was really special for all of us.”

Andrew’s 20ft tree is also a Nordman Fir and had been grown on the farm for 26 years. Santa Fir’s tree was a 12ft Nordman.

Jessica Ingram said: “We were really pleased to be invited to attend Downing Street for such a magical event, and to represent our parents to see the result of all their hard work in growing trees on the farm.”

Hans and Julie Alexandersen have in excess of 750,000 trees over seven sites. Andrew Ingram is responsible for 120,000 trees on a 120 acre site.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, said: “It’s always so special for members to have the chance to participate in an event like this and to have the spotlight put on a tree they’ve spent years growing.

“It’s a great experience to visit Number 10, but also lovely to know that our members are providing a British grown real tree and helping spread some festive cheer for all those who visit Downing Street over the coming weeks.”

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