Brighton tree campaigners overwhelmed by public support

Posted On 13 Mar 2013 at 2:32 pm
By Jenni Davidson

Two tree campaigners have told how moved they were by public support for their efforts to save an elm tree.

The campaigners, Tom Druitt and Stephen Hendry, climbed the tree on Vernon Terrace, Brighton, in the early hours of Thursday 7 March.

They spent two days in the tree to prevent Brighton and Hove City Council chopping it down.

Mr Druitt described the first day they spent in the tree as “one of the most moving days of my whole life”.

“It was a very special time up there,” he said.

Mr Druitt spoke of how the community rallied round to support them and said they were given more food than they could eat.

He said that children had drawn pictures, cars had slowed to show their support and people on the top decks of buses had waved to them.

One child event sent them up a banana with a message on it in the bucket they used to collect supplies.

Stephen Hendry, who lives in Vernon Terrace, had never climbed a tree before and described how frightening it was.

“I actually screamed when I was halfway up the tree. I thought I was going to die,” he said.

The two men were speaking at a public meeting at the West Hill Hall last night (Tuesday 12 March).

About 60 Seven Dials residents gathered to discuss ways to save the rare elm tree.

The elm tree was due to be cut down last week as part of the redevelopment of the Seven Dials roundabout.

Brighton and Hove City Council officials have agreed to give the tree a stay of execution until Friday 15 March, but its future after that date is uncertain.

Both men said they were prepared to go back up the tree if necessary to prevent it being cut down.

“If the tree’s cut down and it’s gone forever, I don’t know if I can look myself in the mirror,” said Mr Hendry.

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