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An iconic Christmas tree dubbed the best in Birmingham will shine even brighter when it’s lit up next week thanks to a triumphant crowdfunding appeal.

Over 220 people have sponsored bulbs on the beautiful Bournville Christmas tree so far after charity and housing association Bournville Village Trust launched an appeal for new lights.

The Trust started crowdfunding to replace the old lights following a string of broken bulbs which kept tripping out all 650 lights, leaving the 60ft tree on the Village Green in darkness.

Kind-hearted families, local businesses and pupils at Bournville Junior School have donated money to fund the new lights, which will be energy efficient.

Many of those who sponsored a bulb have left poignant messages of remembrance and support, showing just how much the Atlas Cedar tree is cherished by local people.

Messages include: ‘It just wouldn’t be a proper Christmas without the magnificent tree on Bournville Green. It truly makes every December day feel special with its magical lights shining’ and ‘For my lovely dad, whose light will always shine brightly in my life.’

Richard Hughes, Estate Manager at Bournville Village Trust, said: “The response to the crowdfunding appeal has been absolutely amazing.

“We would like to thank everyone who sponsored a bulb, and fundraised, for their huge generosity – we’ve been overwhelmed by the response.

“The new lights will be brighter and more energy efficient than the old ones meaning the tree can be enjoyed, uninterrupted, for the whole festive period.”

Gary Evans, Assistant Head Teacher at Bournville Junior School, where pupils raised £130 towards the appeal by hosting a bake sale, said: “To support such an iconic Christmas image that has been part of our school and community for generations was an honour.

“We were so excited to help raise funds for BVT’s appeal. Our Citiserve catering team donated the ingredients and baked the biscuits and our school house captains sold the biscuits to the school community. We can’t wait for the big switch on.”

The Christmas tree, which was planted in 1948 to mark the 90th birthday of George Cadbury’s wife Dame Elizabeth, is a focal point for festive celebration in Bournville.

Each year, Bournville Village Trust funds the cost of fitting the lights – which are put into place using a huge crane – and the electricity, while Bournville Village Council organise the annual Lights Switch On event.

This year’s Lights Switch On will take place on Thursday 1st December 2016 at 7pm.

If you would like to sponsor a bulb on the new set of lights, please visit the appeal’s crowdfunding page – www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/christmastreelightsbournville

Any additional money raised will be donated to Selly Manor Museum in Bournville, which relies partly on public funding to run.

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