Irton villagers in hunt for tree remains say we’re stumped

The tree before it was felled, and below, the site of the axed tree with the stump vanished.
The tree before it was felled, and below, the site of the axed tree with the stump vanished.

CAMPAIGNERS in Irton who were left devastated by the felling of the village’s beech tree have said they are searching for its stump.

In the days following the felling of the tree earlier this month, the stump disappeared and its whereabouts remain a mystery.

Irton residents have now made a formal request to North Yorkshire County Council for the return of the wood, so that it can be transformed into a permanent memorial to the tree.

Villager Shirley Marshall said: “We’ve written to the county council because we would like it as a gift to the parish.

“We want to make a memorial to celebrate the 100 years in which the tree stood tall.”

The request for the return of the stump, which has not yet been answered, represents a u-turn for some of the Irton tree’s supporters.

While the saga of the tree came to an end after a six-year legal battle and a dramatic two weeks in which five protesters lived in its branches, representatives of the group which campaigned to save the tree said they did not want the wood for a memorial, as had been previously mooted.

The campaigners are now also focusing their efforts on the Irton Tree Foundation, which has been set up to fight for other under-threat trees.

Shirley added: “It was very depressing in the village after the tree was cut down. For two weeks it was like walking through a morgue.

“Now, we are talking about moving on and looking to the future. We want to be able to advise and support anyone else who faces the horrible situation in other parts of the country.

“We lost the tree because we did not move fast enough. We ran out of funds and time.”

The Irton Tree Foundation, which meets weekly, began fundraising activities by auctioning off a print of a painting of the tree, which was painted by Scarborough artist Alan Stuttle.

They are also having Christmas cards made and are selling beech nuts on the internet.

Weekly table top sales, to raise money for the foundation, will start on Sunday and will be held every Sunday for a further six weeks.

The sales will be held in Seamer and Irton Memorial Hall and will last from noon until 2:30pm. Admission is free.