While this weekend will see music-lovers throughout Europe tune in for the Eurovision Song Contest grand final, a few weeks ago it was an event dubbed the ‘Eurovision of Trees’ that had tree surgeons captivated.
Just like Eurovision, the European Tree of the Year contest attracted entries from across the continent, including Spain, France, Italy, as well as England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
England’s entry was possibly the best-known tree in the country – Major Oak, found in Sherwood Forest, and rumoured to have been used as a hiding place by Robin Hood thanks to its hollow trunk.
On April 20th, at an award ceremony in Brussels, this and the other entrants were recognised for helping to highlight the contribution made by the natural environment to communities throughout Europe.
Thierry de l’Escaille, secretary general of the European Landowners’ Organization, said: “Beautiful old trees are some of the best examples of long-term private management of Europe’s land by its countryside families.
“They show us that caring for the land represents the work of generations, growing more beautiful through good management and sustainable practices.”
Ultimately the winner, with nearly 60,000 votes, was Estonia’s ‘Oak tree on a football field’, which stands in the middle of a football pitch in Orissaare.
Multiple attempts to remove it many years ago have left its surface scarred by cable marks – but the tree not only still stands, it is even used by some players to deliberately deflect passes to teammates, proving the very active role trees can play in everyday human activities.