Is this the saddest Christmas tree in Lancashire? Outrage after 'scrooge' council reveal tiny Christmas tree
It has been called the 'saddest Christmas tree in Lancashire'.
Unloved, unadorned and mocked by the community - the 'big' Christmas tree in Clayton Brook, Chorley has been ridiculed by residents.
Families in Clayton Brook were left fuming when their Christmas tree in the village green was unveiled on Tuesday.
The 6ft spruce, which hadn't been adorned with decorations or lights, soon became the butt of jokes.
Residents mocked the lonely little Christmas tree and said they were bemused by the metal railings protecting it.
The railings, which were nearly as big as the tree, failed to prevent one disgruntled resident from swiftly removing it under the cover of darkness.
One resident, Jenna Gaskell said: "The tree was taken down that night by a person from the estate. It wasn’t robbed, it was just taken away due to humiliation and moved into the community centre."
Residents vented their frustrations and exchanged banter on the community's social media page.
Michele Faulkner said: "Clayton-le-Woods get a 40 foot tree, and we just get a branch!"
Lois Jones added: "Wow! When is the big light switch on? They might get someone famous to do it...maybe one of the hobbits."
But other residents responded to the 'big reveal' with genuine anger and disappointment.
"That is an insult to all of us on Clayton Brook in my opinion", said Carol Harwood.
Louise Bailey added: "It's the saddest Christmas tree I have ever seen."
Things were made worse by the erection of a giant Christmas tree in a neighbouring community. The 40ft Christmas tree in Preston Road, Clayton Green has been graced with hundreds of bright lights and baubles.
Some residents defended the tree, or at least the kind gesture behind it. After Clayton Brook was refused funding for a tree, local councillor Yvonne Hargreaves paid for the tree out of her own pocket.
In a Facebook post to the community, Coun Hargreaves, revealed the tree was her festive gift to the community.
She said: "The parish council did not qualify for funding for a tree this year. I therefore purchased this one myself."
But the reviled little tree disappeared within hours, after residents said they felt 'humiliated and ashamed at the sight of it'.
Mum of two, Jenna Gaskell, has lived in Clayton Brook for 30 years. She said the tree is an 'insult to the community'.
She said: "Whoever put it there should be ashamed of themselves. Everybody is so angry with how we as a community are being treated.
"They have a cherry picker putting the one up in Clayton Green. They probably used chopsticks for ours.
"We have a tree every year at the shops in Clayton Brook and the last few years it has been getting smaller and smaller.
"It is a horrible eyesore. If it was a joke it would be funny, but what's worrying is that the parish council actually think this is acceptable."
In the true spirit of Christmas, Jenna has begun fundraising for a new, bigger Christmas tree for the community.
She said: "I have two kids and I’m doing it because they deserve a better tree on the estate. It’s Christmas after all!
"We are a tight-knit community and everyone knows everyone. We do events every year to get us all together. In the past we have been funded a snow machine, trees, the works.
"And now we get nothing! They don’t want to spend any money on us. It’s ridiculous."
Jenna has set up a collection bucket at the McColls shop in the village centre.
She said: "We have had a few generous donations from local businesses, including hairdressers and dentists, and we're taking the collection bucket into Clayton Brook Primary School today to see if they will help.
"And there has also been a massive donation from one of our former residents, Imelda Wakefield, who use to live on the estate and now lives in Tunisia. It just shows how close of a community we are.
"We plan to have the tree ready for a big Christmas switch on, a week on Saturday. So we are still going to be collecting money to go towards the tree, the stand, lights and all the stuff that makes a Christmas tree magical.
"We'll get our tree. We will show them that we are a tight-knit community. But it’s only going to happen with the great generosity of the community."
Clayton-le-Woods Parish Council has been approached for comment.