The much-challenged citizens of Fifehead Magdalen gathered on the village green for the third time in under two weeks to witness the ceremonial planting of a tree to replace the much-prized specimen so cruelly hacked down last week by callous thieves. Police believe that the "master-criminals" - who may have been a middle-aged male with a "slightly younger" female accomplice - removed the tree simply to acquire the magnificent lights (donated by the Threadbone Corporation) which adorned it or, worse, to taunt Dorset Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave who had allegedly "challenged them to do so".
Speaking at today's ceremony, Sir Rising thanked the management of Threadbonemeals (the Dorset-based garden centres many of which Sir Rising had recently visited) for their generosity in supplying "at a significantly discounted rate" the giant Sequoia cutting which will "in time replace and perhaps even eradicate in the collective memory its predecessor which, loved as it was, was never likely to reach the 311 feet expected of this little beauty". He went on to explain that the tree had been especially selected - after extensive consultation - for its suitability to the micro-climate, location and functional requirement of the site. "The tree has been especially selected - after extensive consultation - for its suitability to the micro-climate, location and functional requirement of the site", he explained.
The giant redwood (Sequoiadendron giganteum) is expected to grow quickly but will not reach its optimum height for some 3,500 years. Nevertheless Parish Councillor and Honorary Treasurer Mrs Winifrid Tighte-Wadd is confident it will be 'useable much sooner than that" and was ecstatic at the prospect of "full restoration of The William Tell Festival in April 2087 with The Hang the Vicar Pageant following in June 2088". An announcement on the restoration of Hunt the Naughty Woggle festivities is expected early in the new year (probably Autumn 2093) whilst it was "too early to say" when the delicate tree would be "capable of bearing the weight of any Christmas decorations". "It's too early to say when the delicate tree will be capable of bearing the weight of any Christmas decorations", she said, "we will take things carefully and - as my husband always says - let the little brute perk up in his own time and not burden him with too much expectation". Mr Tighte-Wadd is 83.
After the successful tree-planting ceremony in Fifehead Magdalen yesterday. LEFT: The Threadbonemeal's-supplied cutting is not yet at its best and patience may be required before it reaches its full potential. [Right] Artist's impression of the tree in 5517. Note the height of the Christmas lights (top right): nature's own anti-theft device.