03 October 2023

‘Lovely’ crochet tribute to Sycamore Gap tree appears in nearby high street

03 October 2023

Two women in Northumberland have crocheted a postbox topper in a “lovely” tribute to the historic Sycamore Gap tree that was felled last week.

Carrie Page, 51, and Christine Hopper, 63, worked together to crochet the decorative topper featuring a green base and tree in the centre with varying shades of green leaves and branches.

The pair, who own separate shops in the same building opposite the postbox in Hexham, around 14 miles from the site of the Sycamore Gap tree, were motivated to create the tribute after locals were “angry, shocked and upset” at its destruction.

They placed the topper – which was dubbed “such a lovely gesture” by a local resident – outside their shops on September 30, and have since seen people taking photos of their work and sharing it on social media.

Ms Page explained that Ms Hopper used a green base from a previous design as they “take quite a long time to make” and they “wanted to try and do it as soon as possible”.

Ms Page, who owns Old And New, a homeware, electrical and vintage goods store in the Market Place in Hexham, told the PA news agency: “I started on the trunk and the next morning we came together and crocheted some green balls to look like the leafy top bits of the tree, and we sewed it all together.

“We were planning on doing one for Remembrance Sunday and then of course, the whole Sycamore (Gap) tree debacle happened, and my husband actually said, ‘why don’t you do a tree?'”

Fiona Read, 53, from Hexham, who spotted the postbox topper and shared it to Facebook, said it was “such a lovely gesture”.

“I was heartbroken at the loss of the tree,” Ms Read, a company director in a family firm, told PA.

“I’ve been away in Europe for 20 years and loved seeing photos of it, (I was) so happy I took my family to see it after our return to the North East.

“I visited again with friends from Switzerland only two weeks ago, it’s one of Northumberland’s ‘must sees’.”

She added: “To see one tree standing alone on what is usually a highly decorated postbox made me think it had to be a tribute, it’s such a lovely gesture.”

Ms Hopper, who owns The Vintage Emporium above Ms Page’s store, has created postbox toppers previously, but after her summer display was stolen earlier this year, she was hesitant to create another.

“Unfortunately, my last topper was stolen so I decided I wasn’t going to do any more for a while but I had been talking to Carrie about doing another one in November.

“And then unfortunately, the horrid incident of the tree (happened).

“It sort of knocked the whole town and the area down for shock more than anything else.”

She added: “The idea was to put a little message on it to say why we were doing it, but as we were putting it out, people were commenting ‘is that for the tree?’

“People were instantly taking pictures of it, I was getting comments on Facebook.

“It’s been a lovely thing to be a part of.”

Ms Hopper said she has “always admired” the Sycamore Gap tree and thought it “wasn’t possible” when she saw the news.

Ms Page said: “It means a lot to most of the people in the Tyne Valley, nearly all of us have been there, we’ve all taken visitors there to see it.

“We couldn’t believe it when we first heard what had happened, we thought it was a hoax.

“If it was a building, it could get rebuilt – yes, you could plant another tree and it would be nice to see something there, but it will never be the same tree.”

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox