Watch: Protesters dress up as 150-year-old tree and sing outside Sheffield Town Hall

0
Have your say

Campaigners dressed up as a 150-year-old tree earmarked for felling in a protest at Sheffield Town Hall this afternoon.

Members of Save Dore, Totley and Broadway Trees dressed as Sheffield's Vernon Oak tree, in Dore, which has been included in the council's controversial felling plan.

Protesters from Dore in Sheffield campaign outside Sheffield Town Hall to stop the Vernon Oak being felled under the councils current tree felling scheme - picture by Dean Atkins

Protesters from Dore in Sheffield campaign outside Sheffield Town Hall to stop the Vernon Oak being felled under the councils current tree felling scheme - picture by Dean Atkins

Angry members covered themselves in branches and leaves, as well as red hearts which also adorn the famously decorated tree, as they met city councillors.

Campaigner Ann Anderson said that the group already had an appointment with councillors to deliver the poems and pleas of local people to save the tree.

However, she explained that the more "creative" members of the action group then decided to surprise the council with their ingenious human tree.

She said: "We had an event last Sunday to celebrate the tree. We produced a lot of pretty hearts with messages and we felt it was such a shame that we could not pass them on to the council.

"It would let them see the strength of feeling so we said that we would hand it in ourselves. That was when my more creative friends said let's go as the tree.

"I'm really pleased with how it's gone. It's not a demonstration and we're not intending for it to be a big event. We have handed over poems and cards signed by all the people at the event."

More than 100 campaigners celebrated the life of 'Vernon' by gathering round the tree which was adorned with ribbons and slogans and sang protest songs.

The felling is part of a city-wide maintenace project Streets Ahead to upgrade roads, pavements and bridges.

Fellow campaigners Sue Unwin, Margaret Peart and Sally Goldsmith dressed as their beloved tree but Ms Anderson warned that more intense protests may be needed in future.

She said: "We're pleased that we've got our message over but there will be a time when we have to put ourselves on the line to protect this tree.

"Today is a pleasant way of protesting, the artwork shows just how much people care but it's not just this tree, there are many others.

"The council are making a massive error and I think they are surprised by the amount of opposition to the plans.

"We are determined to protect this tree. I'm not saying what we will do and what we won't do but we won't be going away.

"We are not giving up on this because we have been told that the tree could live for another 150 years. There are solutions to this and it does not have to be chopped down."