Anger as Edinburgh's Norwegian Christmas tree cut down already

Photos emerge of a stump on the Mound
Edinburgh's Christmas tree in its former gloryEdinburgh's Christmas tree in its former glory
Edinburgh's Christmas tree in its former glory

RAGING residents have accused city chiefs of felling festivities early - after cutting down the giant tree on the Mound just two days after Christmas.

Photos emerged on social media of the spruce - an annual gift from Norway - reduced to a sawn-off stump.

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Images also show the figures from a Nativity sculpture by the artist Tim Chalk lying prone on the grass - replaced by an advert for whisky brand Johnnie Walker.

Deacon and Healthcare Chaplain Mark Evans tweeted “What has happened to our Christmas Tree?

“The tree on the mound is a GIFT to the people of Edinburgh.... where is it and is this really an appropriate way to treat the nativity scene. Shame on you.”

A towering tree is donated to the Capital by the people of Norway every year as a thank you for efforts to help liberate the country during the Second World War.

Mr Chalk’s Nativity scene sculpture was donated by Sir Tom and Lady Farmer after being commissioned in 2003 to challenge people's conceptions of Christmas.

Others took to social media to express their dismay that the tree had been taken down so soon.

One posted: “As a resident of Edinburgh who pays council tax etc, you do not have a say on what happens in this city. It's now all about the tourists.”

Duchess added: "Saw them taking it down on the 27th. I always thought the 12 days of Christmas was a thing... same with the one at St Giles..."

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And Iain Majcher posted: “Embarrassing that this has happened. People paid the ultimate price for our peace and Norway, it seems unlike Edinburgh still want to remember that.”

Lord Provost Frank Ross and festival organisers sought to reassure residents there was nothing new in the swift clearance.

Cllr Ross tweeted: “The Hordaland tree was removed on the same date as last year (2018) and only after discussion and agreement of the Norwegians.”

A spokeswoman for Underbelly said: “The Christmas tree has been removed at the same time as in previous years in preparation for tomorrow’s Hogmanay event in the city centre.”

““The Nativity scene has previously been placed in St Andrew Square, but we decided to move it this year and the response to its move and the relocation of the Nativity Concert were very well received.

“We have been putting up and taking down the Nativity for 6 years now and always do so with the utmost care and respect.

“The figures are lifted carefully from the platform and put on the grass, set apart so they don’t damage each other, and soon after wrapped, packed in a storage box and taken into safe storage until the following year.”