What is 116 years old, stands 22-metres tall and weighs about four tonnes?
Well it is the famous Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, of course, and it has been lit during a special service heralding the arrival of the festive season.
The Mayor of Oslo Marianne Borgen was the guest of honour at the event on Thursday (December 1) evening, which marked the 70th year that the famous 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 .
Cllr Steve Summers, 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.
It was transported across the North Sea on a ferry to UK Customs and Immigration and then carried by lorry to Trafalgar Square, delivered on Monday (November 28).
The tree has been decorated in a traditional Norwegian style with vertical strings of lights – around 900 energy-efficient light bulbs will be used, a total of 400 metres of cable.
Affectionately known as "The Queen of the Forest", the tree was selected from a shortlist 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 (January 6), when it will be taken down for recycling.
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