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Iconic part of Hethersett school’s history removed as 300-year-old beech tree is felled

PUBLISHED: 12:28 25 February 2015 | UPDATED: 12:31 25 February 2015

The beech tree at Hethersett Old Hall School as it is about to be felled.

The beech tree at Hethersett Old Hall School as it is about to be felled.

Archant

Staff and students at a Hethersett school have bid farewell to a 300-year-old beech tree which has stood in its grounds since it opened.

The iconic tree at Hethersett Old Hall School is proudly displayed on the school’s logo, but was felled during half term after experts deemed it unsafe.

Stephen Crump, headmaster, said: “Trees are the oldest living things we meet in everyday life. Our ancient beech was a beautiful tree in all respects and last autumn it put on one of the best displays we’ve ever seen – its fiery red and gold leaves were just magnificent. It’s as if the tree knew this would be its final season.”

An ultrasound examination revealed extensive rot and splits in the two-metre-diameter trunk of the ancient copper beech.

Selected parts of the tree - which yielded fifty tonnes of timber, have been saved - with hopes of turning them into a lasting memory.

Mr Crump said: “We hope to make some mementos out of the wood of it once it has been properly seasoned, and some pupils and parents have already asked if they can keep a piece as a souvenir.”

It is hoped that - a few centuries down the line - a scion of the tree planted on the grounds will replace it.

Mr Crump said: “When Will Kemp, one of Shakespeare’s fellow actors, danced his famous jig from London to Norwich, there would have been a large farmhouse here; soon afterwards, it became a rather grander gentleman’s residence, and the tree was planted as an addition to the grounds.”

A time lapse video of the felling was recorded, which will be published on the school website here.

The school is having an open morning on Saturday, March 7 from 10am to 12pm. For information or to confirm attendance, contact 01603 810390.

Do you have a Hethersett story? Contact lauren.cope@archant.co.uk

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