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Council chief turns tree hugger!

PUBLISHED: 19:24 07 May 2008 | UPDATED: 14:31 14 July 2010

An ancient oak tree in Wymondham has just got a big hug from an unlikely source - the chairman of South Norfolk Council.

Joe Mooney, who is coming to the end of his term of office, had been asked to nominate his favourite tree for the “Chairman's Tree” scheme, run by the council.

An ancient oak tree in Wymondham has just got a big hug from an unlikely source - the chairman of South Norfolk Council.

Joe Mooney, who is coming to the end of his term of office, had been asked to nominate his favourite tree for the “Chairman's Tree” scheme, run by the council.

He consulted his wife Catherine, and they decided on the mighty and majestic oak which towers over public space between Bellrope Lane and Lime Tree Avenue, in Wymondham, where he also represents the town's Northfields Ward.

Joe and Catherine used to live in Lime Tree Avenue, and all his four children played around that tree.

The town council has also backed his choice.

Mr Mooney said: “I am very pleased to have been able to choose this oak as my designated South Norfolk Council Chairman's Tree. My wife Catherine and all our family love it and have often stood or played under it on sunny days.

“Trees like this are very special because of their great age and size, and are important for wildlife, providing a habitat for birds, mammals and insects.

“I also chose this one because it sits in open space where anyone can come along and enjoy its beauty.”

The Chairman's Tree scheme celebrates significant trees of the district by formally recognising their contribution to the nation's heritage. The first tree was designated in 2001.

He added: “This initiative celebrates trees that are already growing in the district and contributing to the beauty of the landscape and its heritage.

“Mature trees need as much love and attention as trees that have just been planted. This initiative means the tree will now be protected through a tree preservation order, ensuring it continues to grow and grace our landscape.”

Mr Mooney became chairman of South Norfolk Council at the annual meeting last May, and will step down this month.

During his term of office, he campaigned on his theme for a brighter, greener and cleaner South Norfolk, extending the initiative he originally launched in Wymondham.

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