Video: 35ft Christmas tree arrives at Grimsby Docks from Norway bound for the Riverhead
CHRISTMAS has arrived – in the form of a 35ft tree from Norway.
Yesterday morning workers at Grimsby Docks received a huge Christmas tree which will be erected and decorated at the Riverhead ready for the festive season.
It was donated by the local council of Sortland, Norway, which has supplied Grimsby's tree for the past eight years.
Mayor of North East Lincolnshire, Councillor Mike Burton (Lab, Immingham), said: "I'm a Christmas person and as soon as the tree goes up in town, I know that the festive season as begun.
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"It will provide a great deal of enjoyment for children and adults across the borough – including myself.
"This is a fantastic arrangement that encourages a good relationship between two towns and we thank the council of Sortland for this fantastic tree."
The 11-metre tree was chosen by children in Sortland, chopped and loaded onto a 3,538-tonne Holmfoss ship last Wednesday, arriving in Grimsby a full week later.
On its way here, it visited various ports on the west coast of Norway and a port in Holland before arriving in Grimsby Docks, where a crane was used to place it onto the back of a truck.
The exchange is arranged by shipping company John Sutcliffe and Son, which has offices in Grimsby and Sortland, who rekindled the tradition of getting Christmas trees from Norway – which started after the Second World War – eight years ago, after it stopped for a few years.
Andy Surfleet, managing director and Norwegian consul to Grimsby, said: "We always had such lovely trees from Norway and we thought it was a shame when the tradition ended, so we decided to bring it back.
"This year, I am glad to see we are making a much bigger deal of it than usual."
The 2012 tree will be at the centre of the Go To Town This Christmas event next Thursday and Friday, at which a local hero – voted for by Telegraph readers – will switch on the lights amidst of a huge Christmas market with a parade of Santas, carol-singers and all things festive.
As reported, the event is being led by the Grimsby Telegraph in association with North East Lincolnshire Council, Freshney Place Shopping Centre, Lincs FM, Compass FM, The Culture House and Grimsby In Bloom.
Elaine Atkinson, chair of Grimsby In Bloom, said: "The tree is always the centrepiece of Christmas celebrations in the town and this will be more important than ever at this year's event, which is the start of something big.
"We are really grateful to the children of Sortland and will be sending photos of the tree that they chose for us when it is decorated so that they can see it in its full glory."