Is this Sheffield family's Christmas tree the OLDEST one in Britain?

A proud Sheffield family have put up what they believe is Britain's oldest fake Christmas tree '“ which is still standing after nearly a CENTURY.Â

Monday, 10th December 2018, 12:12 pm
Updated Monday, 10th December 2018, 12:15 pm
Kaye Ashton's 12 year old grandaughter Tallulah Plastow with the 98-year-old Christmas tree. Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS.com

Elizabeth Naylor purchased the 2ft tree from Woolworths in 1920 - before passing it down through her family's maternal line.

Kaye Ashton's 12 year old grandaughter Tallulah Plastow with the 98-year-old Christmas tree. Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS.com

'William's tree' - named after Elizabeth's son - has incredibly survived gale force winds and World War Two bombings to remain standing tall 98 years on.

The family have continued their special tradition of decorating and displaying the artificial spruce - which was bought for just two shillings - in the living room of their Mosborough home each year.

When Elizabeth died in 1981 aged 80, her beloved tree - which became a memorial for William after his premature death in 1940 - was inherited by her daughter, Joyce Ashton.

The tree. Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS.com

When she passed away in 2012, Kay Ashton became the third generation to own William's Tree.

The tree is still lovingly decorated with its original 1920s trimmings every year.

Kay, aged 64, said: 'It is going to be fragile because it's 98 but it goes up every year, it's robust enough.

'I'm extra careful when I take it out, I tend to take it out later than the other decorations. It's a great piece of history and I'm so glad to have it.

Kay Ashton's grandmother Elizabeth Naylor who originally bought the Christmas tree in 1920 from Woolworths. Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS.com

"To think the tree has stayed the same for almost 100 years but everything around it has changed so much. The things it will have seen.

"It's outlived two generations and even the shop it was bought from, so it's obviously made of strong stuff.'

She added: 'It's a bit battered but it's definitely a talking point and people are always amazed when I tell them it was bought just two years after the First World War.

"It is still going strong and might outlive me.'

Ornaments and trinkets hung on the 98 year old Christmas tree owned by Kaye Ashton. Picture: Dan Rowlands/SWNS.com

Fortunately, Kay, a customer service advisor, has two daughters, Amy Wilcox, aged 46, and Rebecca Goodhand, aged 40, to keep up the family tradition.

As Rebecca has two daughters, Phoebe, aged 14 and Tallulah, aged 12, and Amy has one son, Sonny, five, the tradition is set to continue into its fifth generation.

Kay said: "I think my nanan would be really touched to know the tree is still going strong and being used - and so would William.

"We'll definitely have to have a party when it reaches 100. It's amazing to think it's lived through so much.

"I can't imagine it not being around."

She added: 'My nanan took great care with the tree and its decorations, and to this day I'll only decorate William's tree with the original decoration she used.

"There's an ornament shaped like a dog with a dead bird in its mouth that hangs on the tree. It does sound a bit gory but it was my favourite when I was little."

She explained how the tree was damaged during the Sheffield Blitz in 1941.

Kay said: "My nanan had put a heavy wrought iron mangle against the back door to keep it closed.

"But when a bomb was dropped across the road, the force blew the back door open, and the mangle went flying across the room and into the tree.

"The top of it had nearly come off and it's been bent ever since, but it was fixed with sellotape and wire - some of the original bits of tape are still on the tree and I daren't take them off.'

She added: 'Then in 1962, Sheffield was hit by awful gales, people were even killed when buildings collapsed.

"I remember being at my nanan's house, and she asked my mother to close the back door.

"But before we knew, it, the tree had gone flying across the room and almost into the fire.'