Delight as tree is replaced in Oakham

Simon Hazard, Sharon Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Hannah Haywood, Mayor of Oakham Jayne Woodcock, Ruby Hamilton, Guy Boyd, Paul Ford and Chris Hamilton, up the ladder, with the new Christmas tree in Oakham. Photo: Adam Lowe.
Simon Hazard, Sharon Hamilton, Brian Hamilton, Hannah Haywood, Mayor of Oakham Jayne Woodcock, Ruby Hamilton, Guy Boyd, Paul Ford and Chris Hamilton, up the ladder, with the new Christmas tree in Oakham. Photo: Adam Lowe.
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Oakham now has a Christmas tree to be proud of thanks to the quick response of councillors and businesses to a Facebook campaign.

The town’s original tree was widely criticised when it was put up earlier this month. The tree itself was scruffy and the lighting looked untidy.

A Facebook group called Give Oakham the Christmas Tree it Deserves quickly attracted more than 900 people, many of whom left comments calling for the tree to be replaced.

Oakham Town Council acknowledged the complaints and asked its contractor Lite Ltd to re-string the lights. But Rutland Garden Centre director Chris Hamilton decided to take matters into his own hands and offered to donate a new tree. He said: “It was early Monday when I realised that the people of Oakham were seriously unhappy.

“I spoke to my wife and said we could do something with this.”

Mr Hamilton spoke to the town council and the Rotary Club of Rutland, which paid for the original tree. Both were happy to accept the offer of a replacement.

“Oakham is an important shopping destination,” said Mr Hamilton. “To have a tree of that quality did not portray what the businesses of Oakham have to offer.

“I just wanted to put the tree right for the people of Oakham and Rutland.”

Will Burridge, who set up the Facebook page, thanked Mr Hamilton for donating the tree. He said: “What an amazing outcome, thank you to all involved.”