Yorkshire TV stars will be guest judges in the hunt for the best Christmas tree in Britain – with the winner providing the tree for No10 Downing Street.
Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, star of Channel 5’s ‘Our Yorkshire Farm' and bestselling author will join Peter Wright from Channel 5’s ‘The Yorkshire Vet’ to be judges at the Great Yorkshire Showground, in Harrogate, where the competition will be held for the first time.
The winner of "Grower of The Year" and "Champion Festive Wreath" will then provide the Christmas tree and wreath for outside the Prime Minister’s residence.
Judging will take place on Wednesday October 28 for the annual competition run by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association, (BCTGA).
Due to Covid restrictions, the competition will take on a new format this year, with growers sending in their trees rather than attending in person. Many growers have also changed the way they sell this year, introducing online sales for the first time as well as social distancing measures for those who want to visit their local plantation to enjoy the experience of choosing their own tree.
Amanda Owen said: “It’s really great to have been invited to be a part of this exciting competition. We always have a real tree at Christmas time, decorating the tree is a real highlight of the festive season. There’s no holds barred in our household when it comes to dressing the tree, baubles, tinsel, chocolate, anything goes.”
Peter Wright added: “I am delighted to support this competition and encourage the public to support their local grower by buying a real tree. There’s nothing like the scent of a real Christmas tree to really launch you into the festive spirit and I am really looking forward to seeing some of the best in Britain at the Showground.”
The BCTGA, which was formed 30 years ago, is now being managed by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS).
Heather Parry, Managing Agent for BCTGA, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have the support of Amanda and Peter when we host the competition for the first time.
“This is an important moment for the Christmas tree growers and we are all looking forward to Christmas and a time to celebrate more than ever after this tumultuous year.
“We are very much looking forward to seeing the best in the business being crowned, right here on the Great Yorkshire Showground. The champion tree winner will head to 10 Downing Street to provide that iconic Christmas tree for this year.”
Last year’s winners were Stuart and Jennie Kirkup of Dartmoor Christmas Trees, in Devon, who will be head judges on the day.
Stuart said: “You spend eight to 10 years of your life producing a tree that will go to be judged so it makes you feel very proud when that work pays off. My wife has won six times for the best wreath and we have had two trees runner up and two that have won. Taking our award winning tree to Downing Street was a very proud moment indeed.”
The Kirkup family has been growing award-winning Christmas trees in Dartmoor for over 20 years.
There are winners of six categories of trees, with the overall winner providing the Christmas tree for No 10 Downing Street. There is also a Champion Tree Runner Up who supplies a tree for inside Downing Street. The winner of the wreath making category provides a wreath for the front door.
Already, early orders for UK trees from garden centres and farm shops are significantly ahead of 2019 and this year’s sunny weather means Christmas trees are in the best condition.
The British Christmas Tree Growers Association, (BCTGA) has 320 members nationally.
It is estimated that 6 – 8 million Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year.
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- The British Christmas Tree Growers Association (BCTGA) is the trade association for those who grow specialist Christmas Trees in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Visit www.bctga.co.uk and see @BCTGA
- The BCTGA was first established in 1980 and now has more than 320 members.
- It is estimated that 6 – 8 million Christmas trees are sold in the UK each year.
- BCTGA members abide by a Code of Practice to promote trees being grown in an environmental and sustainable way.
- The BCTGA is managed by Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS), a registered charity which supports and promotes the farming industry through health care, education and funding scientific research into rural affairs.