Oslo Christmas tree gift to people of London to continue in 2020

By Julia Gregory, Local Democracy Reporter

It’s a powerful symbol of friendship across the North Sea and an enduring gift of thanks from one nation to another as they faced their darkest hours.

Every Christmas since 1947 the City of Oslo has sent a Norwegian spruce tree to London as a gift in memory of that wartime support.

It stands as London’s main Christmas tree each year in Trafalgar Square.

And despite the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic the City of Oslo said the gift will continue as normal.

A spokeswoman said: “The City of Oslo will be giving the citizens of London a Christmas tree to light up Trafalgar Square this year as well.”

The 21-metre high tree takes pride of place in Trafalgar Square and is a backdrop for Christmas celebrations in central London and, for some, its arrival marks the start of the countdown to Christmas.

It is a gift to thank Britain for its support during the Second World War when it gave a home to the Norwegian government and Royal family in exile from 1940 until 1945.

Traditionally the mayors of Westminster and Oslo select and fell the tree in November and schoolchildren sing carols as the tree starts its journey to London.

And London returns the hospitality at the tree lighting ceremony and carol singing in early December.

However this year – because of the pandemic – there are no plans for Oslo Mayor Marianne Borgen and a choir to visit.

Westminster City Council said it was “a generous gift from the people of Oslo to London”.

Pictured top, and inset: People gather in Trafalgar Square last year

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