THERE was anger today after axemen felled a fully decorated 35ft Christmas tree at a Bradford beauty spot.
The huge tree at Holden Park, Oakworth, complete with hundreds of pounds of illuminations, was chopped down.
The Friends of Holden Park believe it may have been axed accidentally instead of a condemned spruce which stood nearby and had been marked with red paint.
The group has spent some £1,000 on decorating the tree, even hiring a cherry picker to hang the lights and chairman Jackie McGinnis said she was shocked and furious at what had happened.
"I feel really, really angry at what's happened - people are missing the tree already," she said.
"It would have been extremely difficult not to notice dozens of lights on it - and the other tree had bright red dots on it.
The blunder was discovered by Oakworth Village Society secretary Janet Armstrong as she left her granddaughter's fifth birthday party in the nearby Methodist Church hall at 1.45pm yesterday.
"As I walked past the park I looked in to check the bust of Sir Isaac Holden was on its plinth as I was instrumental in having it put at the entrance.
"I saw a wagon and machinery and two blokes in hard hats so I went over and said, sort of jokingly 'I do hope you haven't chopped down the tree with the lights on it?'
"They said 'yes we have'
"I said 'I don't believe you' but I looked over and sure enough there was a great gaping wound in the ground where the tree had been."
Mrs Armstrong asked what had happened to the lights and was told by the contractors they had been safely put under another tree.
"By this time I was totally incensed and said who gave you the authority to do this?
"The said they had just done what it said on the paperwork.
"I was devastated and absolutely distraught so I went home to try and find out what had happened and rang everyone in tree services at Bradford Council."
Mrs Armstrong said this was the second blooper to have happened as the original Holden Park Christmas tree had been cut down in October.
"That one had been designated dangerous and did need to be felled - but they did it with the lights on which all got broken."
She herself paid for the replacement lights, which were then wrapped around the new, "big beautiful tree" near the entrance and switched on at the start of December.
"Some shrubs and a tree nearby, which I believe was marked with red paint, were risk assessed and were due to come down.
"Unfortunately, no-one at the Friends of Holden park was told the contractors were coming, otherwise this could have been avoided."
Phil Barker, Bradford Council's Assistant Director Sport and Culture, said: "The Parks and Woodlands Service has supported the work of both the Friends of Holden Park and Oakworth Village Society to carry out improvements to the park.
"The tree works, carried out by contractors, were part of a scheme to improve the appearance of the area around the war memorial. Unfortunately due to a breakdown in communication the contractors were not aware of the lights on this particular tree that had been identified for removal until work had commenced.
"We are sorry for this breakdown in communication and will replace the lights for future use. We apologise for any distress this may have caused."