By Anthony Carroll
Monday, December 24, 2012
It is certainly the tallest Christmas tree in Lowestoft and it gets people in the town craning their necks to see it.
Reaching more 200ft, the metal Christmas celebration is sitting on top of the silo in Commercial Road that belongs to the Dudman Group of Companies.
A tree has been put up on top of the towering silo since 1988 after one of the staff, Peter Hammond, decided to cheer up the mother of his then manager Alan Doy.
Mr Doy’s mother felt very poorly and her son said to Mr Hammond that setting up a tree would give her something to smile about as she peered out of the window of her St Peters Street flat.
Since then countless people have gazed upwards towards the tree, which for the first 15 years was a real Christmas tree before being replaced by a metal one.
The first tree was about 6ft, but the one put up for this year’s festivities is a impressive 30ft and weighs half a tonne.
Its star alone is 4ft high and there are 40 metres of lights on a rope attached to the metal structure.
Mr Hammond and his work colleagues, Adam Graves, Derek Saunders, Paul Crowther and Michael Hammond, took about a month to prepare this year’s tree with each bulb being individually spray painted.
And the team were helped by Lowestoft company Survitec, which provided lifting equipment to place the tree in its final position on top of the silo, which is used to store grain for transport by ship.
The tree has 16 support cables holding it upright.
One of the biggest hazards when preparing the tree is the weather, which is often the reason the tree is sometimes late being put up. It is also treacherous on the top of the silo in very cold and windy weather.
But this year there were no major hitches in putting up the festive treat.
And, as with the previous 23 years, Mr Hammond and his company will get positive comments saying how the tree brightens up people’s lives during the winter.
The Christmas tree will be taken down in the new year.