Saturday 30 November was a red letter day at Immingham Dock as the gift of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree mades it’s way from the port on it’s last leg of the journey from the forests of Oslo to Trafalgar Square ready for the annual “Switch-on” by the Mayor of Westminster and the Norwegian Ambassador to Britain.
The Trafalgar Square tree is probably the world’s most famous Christmas Tree and the lighting-up ceremony is broadcast around the world; seen by millions and heralding the countdown to Christmas.
Since 1947 a fresh 20 metre high Norwegian spruce (Picea Abies) has been given each year as a gift from Norway to the people of Britain as a symbol of gratitude and friendship in remembrance of the support and assistance given to Norway during the Second World War.
In 1940, as Germany invaded Norway, King Haakon VII escaped to England and Norwegian
Government headquarters were set up in London for 5 years – from where war news was broadcast in Norwegian, along with messages and information vital to the resistance movement in Norway – until the end of hostilities.
Each year during the war, the Norwegian resistance secretly sent a tree from Norway to make the King feel closer to his homeland.
A tree in the forest of Oslo is chosen each year and is cut in a ceremony, ready to travel by road to the Norwegian port of Brevik from where it makes the direct sea journey to Immingham on the Humber courtesy of DFDS who ship the tree each year at no cost.
The Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree was lifted by crane onto a road train low-loader for the journey to London ready for siting and decorating with low energy LED lighting in Trafalgar Square.
The 500 lights of the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree were switched on by the Mayor of Oslo, Norwegian Ambassador to Britain and Mayor of Westminster on Thursday 5 December 2019 at 6pm.
Carol singing by The Salvation Army and the St Martin-in-the-Fields choir will accompany the event, along with poetry readings by local school children. The Christmas Tree lighting-up marks the first of a series of Christmas activities held in Trafalgar Square.
The Christmas tree remains in Trafalgar Square until just before the Twelfth Night of Christmas, when it is taken down to be chipped and composted for recycling.
Immingham’s and DFDS’s important role in shipping “The Tree” (at no cost) from Norway through the port is being celebrated by pupils from Schools across North and North East Lincolnshire in a “design a poster” competition organised by the Grimsby Telegraph. The winner and 5 runners-up – from Old Clee Primary, Humberston CE Primary, Worlaby Academy and Luddington and Garthorpe Primary – have been chosen and will receive their prizes from DFDS Communications Officer Coreen Penheiro-Wharton.