Is this Sheffield Christmas tree the oldest surviving in the UK?

Kay Ashton with her grandmother's Christmas tree which survived the blitz attack in Sheffield
Kay Ashton with her grandmother's Christmas tree which survived the blitz attack in Sheffield
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A South Yorkshire gran has followed in family tradition – and decorated the Christmas tree which has been in her family for 94 years.

Kay Ashton was not even born when her grandmother, Elizabeth Naylor, bought the tree from Woolworths in 1920, to celebrate the first Christmas of son William.

But Kay has heard the stories about how it survived being blown across a room during the Blitz and remained unscathed after it was blown into a fireplace during the gales which hit the region in 1962.

Kay, from Mosborough, believes her tree – called William’s tree – is one of the oldest surviving Christmas trees still in regular use in the UK.

The 60-year-old said she was given the tree two years ago and is determined to keep it safe until it is time to pass down her family.

She said: “The top of the tree was damaged in the Blitz and has been held in place by a series of wires and tape since 1941.

“It was relatively unscathed following the gales that hit in the 1960s.

“It has been passed down through the maternal line since 1920 and has been up every Christmas since then. It was passed to me in 2012 when my mum passed away.

“The tree still has about half a dozen original decorations from 1920. The rest date no later than the early sixties – it still has the original candle holders at the end of every branch.

“Sadly William died tragically young in late 1940, aged 19, hence why it is called William’s tree.”

Kay keeps the fragile tree safe in a box until it is time for it to take pride of place in her living room.

Her granddaughters Phoebe Plastow, aged 10, and her sister Tallulah, eight, are fascinated by the tree after she told them about its history – and take extreme care when playing near it. Kay said: “I would hope when I shuffle off it will be passed to one of my daughters to carry on the tradition.”

Is your Christmas tree older than William’s tree?

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