Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Wednesday, 2 December 2009

'Awful' Christmas tree replaced

Sacriston's Christmas tree
The living tree was part of a 300,000 regeneration project

A Christmas tree in County Durham that disappointed onlookers because of its less than impressive dimensions is to be replaced, a council has said.

The living tree was planted in the middle of Sacriston last month, as part of a £300,000 regeneration project of the village centre.

But storms ripped around 2ft from it, leaving some "very disappointed".

Only Fools And Horses's, John Challis, who played Boysie, and James Baxter of Emmerdale switched on its lights.

One onlooker said: "It's truly awful. It's not even in the middle of the frame.

"It looks like a twig stuck in the ground with Christmas lights stuck on a metal frame around it."

'Twig' label

Durham County Council said Sacriston's tree will be replaced with another living one.

A spokeswoman said: "We will be planting it as soon as possible.

"It is a tree we hope will be as strong as the community, who we feel sure will cherish it for many Christmases to come."

Last year, the tree in Peterlee was branded a "twig", drawing similar criticism.

The original was described by a local councillor as looking like something found in a skip.

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