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'Caged' Christmas tree set free for festive season

The tree has been moved to a new spot outside the Granary pub in Shawlands, Glasgow.

Christmas: The tree now has a white picket fence instead of the metal barriers that drew criticism in 2016.
Christmas: The tree now has a white picket fence instead of the metal barriers that drew criticism in 2016. @shawlandstree

A Christmas tree that gained fame and its own Twitter account after it was "caged" last year has a new home.

The tree in Shawlands, Glasgow, has been "freed" and moved from a traffic island to a spot outside the Granary pub.

It now has a white picket fence instead of the metal barriers that drew criticism in 2016.

Residents felt the fencing marred the festive spirit last year, with some saying the tree looked "caged" and others branding it "hideous".

The tree appears to like its new home, though not the weather, tweeting on Sunday: "Good morning Shawlands. Nice to see you again".

Later, a message read: "My fence may have changed this year, but it seems the weather hasn't. Brrr..."

The lights decorating it are due to be switched on this Thursday, with other festive events planned that day.

The tree is urging people to come along, tweeting: "I'm told that there's going to be a party to sparkle me up with lights on Thursday. Come along. If I'm not washed away by then. Ooft..."

Last year, residents tried to improve the appearance of the tree by festooning the metal fencing with tinsel and decorations, and held carol singing events beside it.

The tree drew hundreds of followers after starting its own Twitter account @shawlandstree, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeting about it, saying: "I appreciate this is a Southside thing - but I'm loving @shawlandstree twitter chat! #FreeTheTree."

This year, the tree was moved to its location outside the Granary on Kilmarnock Road after Glasgow City Council consulted residents and Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council.

My Shawlands Business Improvement District (BID) has paid for the new white picket fence and also festive lighting to brighten up the area.

Gary Cushway, former chairman and now associate member of the community council, said: "The council contacted the community council in September to ask what the community wanted.

"They have listened to last year and realised they needed to do something different. This year they have a nice little white picket fence round it. The tree has been freed."

Lisa McLaughlin, My Shawlands BID Manager, said it was a big improvement on last year.

She said: "It's like night and day as to how the Christmas tree is presented. I did get fond of some of the tinsel on the fencing last year but going forward I think the changes for this year are much better.

"We are having local primary schools and a brass band at the tree on Thursday and we hope by having the community events people get to know each other a bit more and it lifts the spirit of Shawlands."

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "We're thrilled that the new Christmas tree fence is proving popular and wish everyone a lovely festive season."

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