The Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Steve Summers hosted the Mayor of Oslo, Marianne Borgen in Trafalgar Square this evening, as she lit up the world’s most famous Christmas tree, heralding the arrival of the festive season.
The event marked the 70th year that the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree has been gifted to London from the people of Norway in lasting gratitude for Britain's support of the Scandinavian country during the Second World War.
The Lord Mayor of Westminster said: “I would like to thank Mayor Marianne Borgen and the people of Oslo for once again spreading Christmas cheer with this magnificent gift. For many, the arrival and lighting-up of the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square signals the countdown to Christmas and continues to symbolise the enduring and close friendship between our two countries”.
This year’s traditional Norwegian spruce is 116 years old, stands 22 metres tall and weighs about four tonnes. “The Queen of the Forest”, as she is affectionately known, was selected from a shortlist of trees in a process that began earlier in May this year.
The Choir of St Martins-in-the-Fields, Children’s Voices Choir and the Northbank Community Choir entertained the crowd with carols and music was provided by the Regent Hall Band of the Salvation Army. The Norwegian Boys Choir Sølvguttene sang “Det hev ei rose sprunge” and three pupils from Gateway Academy Westminster read a poem based on the theme of ‘Joy of nature in the City’.
The Christmas tree will remain in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it will be taken down for recycling. Westminster City Council will be encouraging people to recycle their own trees and are handing out tree tags to remind residents where they can take their firs.
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