Christmas tree grower at 10 Downing Street

Harry Brightwell, left, at Number 10 with one of the Christmas trees behind him with grower and com

Harry Brightwell, left, at Number 10 with one of the Christmas trees behind him with grower and competition winner Colin Griffith. - Credit: Archant

A Christmas tree grower based near Ipswich has helped mark the official start of the festive season at Downing Street.

Tuddenham St Mary Christmas tree grower Harry Brightwell, at the top of the stairs at Number 10

Tuddenham St Mary Christmas tree grower Harry Brightwell, at the top of the stairs at Number 10 - Credit: Archant

Harry Brightwell of Tuddenham St Martin, who is secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, Harry Brightwell, is tasked with ensuring Number 10 Downing Street receives two Christmas trees and a festive wreath every year.

Yesterday, he joined three lucky growers to participate in the official lights switch on outside the Prime Minister’s residence, as well as getting to meet David Cameron.

Back in October, the British Christmas Tree Growers Association staged its annual event to find which grower would be responsible for Downing Street’s outside tree, its Pillared Room tree, and for its front door wreath.

Hereford’s Colin Griffith, from Dinmore Hill Trees at Festive Farm in Wellington, took the top honour and was selected to deliver a tree for outside the Prime Minister’s residence. Meanwhile, Brian Taylor, of Allensmore Nurseries in Hereford, won the prize for best wreath. Rob Morgan, from Wales, was selected to provide the second tree for inside.

The Christmas lights switch-on gathering outside Number 10

The Christmas lights switch-on gathering outside Number 10 - Credit: Archant

All winners were gathered with Mr Brightwell last night outside Number 10 when Prime Minister David Cameron appeared with his wife Samantha to witness the lights being switched on.

Mr Brightwell, from Fynn Valley Farm, said: “It’s wonderful for us to see the Prime Minister opting for a real British Christmas tree – both for inside and outside his home. Naturally, we would like households throughout the country to be doing the same and opting for real and British this year.

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“Hopefully the trees and wreath selected this Christmas will bring some festive cheer to all those who go in and out of Number 10 for the coming weeks.”

More than 100 growers took part in this year’s national competition, with prizes awarded by John Howell, Conservative MP for Henley.

Each farmer, who spends around 10 years nurturing the tree to full ‘competition’ height, is able to enter categories including Best Nordman, Best Other Fir, Best Pine, Best Norway Spruce, Best Other Spruce, Best Container Grown, and Best Festive Wreath.

Finalists were permitted to submit only one tree into each category, and trees entered must be commercially cultivated and be 1.8 metres ( +/- 400mms) high from base to tip. Each is judged for foliage, colour, shape and marketability.