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South Yorkshire couple celebrate Christmas with 84-year-old tree

Douglas Hewitt, 84, and his wife Mavis, 82, have just put up the Christmas tree for yet another year in their home in South Anston, South Yorks, where their family will enjoy its familiar presence.

Douglas Hewitt, 84, and his wife Mavis, 82, have just put up the Christmas tree for yet another year in their home in South Anston, South Yorks, where their family will enjoy its familiar presence.

  • by Claire Lewis
 

A South Yorkshire pensioner is following tradition and has decorated the Christmas tree he has had since he was born - 84 years ago.

Douglas Hewitt was just a few months old when his father bought the tree from legendary city toy shop, Redgates - and it has been used by the family every year since.

The tree has lost some branches over the years but members of the Hewitt family have lovingly decorated the tree every Christmas.

It was bought from Redgates - a toy shop of dreams for generations of Sheffield children - when the store was renowned as one of the best in the country.

Douglas, aged 84, and his wife Mavis, 82, of South Anston, Rotherham, believe their artificial 4ft tree may be the oldest surviving tree still in regular use in the UK.

Great-grandfather Mr Hewitt helped his wife decorate their tree, which has pride of place in their lounge.

He said: “We don’t seem to want to part with it.

“We just got that used to putting it up every Christmas we have carried on all these years.

“If we didn’t put that Christmas tree up it wouldn’t be like Christmas.

“It reminds us of my childhood, our children’s childhood and our grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s after that.

“They all come and look at it and smile, it’s become part of the furniture,” he said.

The tree goes up in the original red stand it came with in 1929.

Mrs Hewitt said: “Douglas was born in 1929 and his parents went into Redgates and asked for a Christmas tree but they didn’t have any. 
“They were sold out. 
“The only one that was left was in the window so his father said ‘right, we will have that’.”

The tree was passed down to Mr Hewitt when he married Mavis in 1951.

“Year after year we have just carried on using it.

“We have to be a bit more careful with it now as it’s a little fragile,” she said.

“Sadly, it may be the last year that the tree makes an appearance in the Hewitt household - it is on its last legs.”

Their daughter June Murphy, aged 60, who also has fond memories of the tree, said: “It’s looking a little thin now because each time we get it out something else falls off.

“It’s become a bit of a family joke. Each year someone has to comment ‘not again’ but it’s a Christmas tradition of getting the tree out that we all love.

“We’d all be sad to see it go and it would be hard to find such a loved replacement.”

 

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