‘We are not giving up’ - that is the clear message from campaigners battling to save the giant tree at Rhyddings park.
Supporters young and old gathered at the foot of the 50ft sequoia in protest at Hyndburn council’s decision to chop it down.
The Observer reported earlier this month how Hyndburn’s cabinet voted to remove the tree from the park as part of a £2 million lottery-funded redevelopment - in spite of a recommendation made at an earlier full council meeting.
Dozens of supporters attended the park on Thursday, July 28, carrying placards and banners and were supported by local councillors.
Leesa Haworth told the Observer: “I’m really pleased with the turnout. It just goes to show that people do care.
“I heard a story the other day that an old lady put her husband’s ashes under the tree and now they want to flatten the area and cobble the area.
“We just want them to listen. We don’t think we are going to get a reprieve but we want the chance to show that we want a reprieve.”
Fellow campaigner Samantha Haslope said the decision should be made by Oswaldtwistle residents.
She said: “We are not giving up. We still don’t want this tree to go.
“It’s a brilliant turnout. I’m really chuffed with it and it’s good to see everyone’s support.
“People feel very passionately about the tree and conservation is a big thing in this day and age.
“It’s beyond belief that the council are not thinking about conservation or the wishes of residents.
“It’s all been ignored and the decision has been made by someone who doesn’t live here.
“We are not accepting the reasons they have come up with. We have always offered an alternative but then they come up with a different excuse.
“We have come up with realistic and reasonable options for the tree to stay and they have all been ignored.”
Coun Lisa Allen, who attended the protest, said: “At the end of the day it’s the residents who voted us in, they are campaigning to keep the tree and we have to back them. It’s a shame because it is a beautiful tree. It’s been a very good turnout.”
Councillors voted to remove the tree from the park at the cabinet meeting on July 20.
An independent arboricultural consultant had examined the tree and said it could treble in size over the next 100 years, could get infected with honey fungus and an option to remove the tree and replant a 33ft replacement would cost £8,250.
Council leader Miles Parkinson told the meeting he was “still minded” to remove the tree considering the work done by volunteers in preparing the lottery bid and the vision for the park, as well as the long-term maintenance of the tree.