Sarah Collings, Reporter
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
AN ELDERLY couple’s “lucky” pride and joy tree saved a riverside garden from crumbling into the River Sid after the devastation of last weekend’s floods.
Bridge House, in Mill Street, lost 40ft of its garden wall on Saturday night leaving the giant cedar teetering on the edge of a 10ft drop - a spectacle which has since been labelled a “tourist attraction”.
The nearby ford was closed from Saturday to Tuesday because of a threat posed to vehicles if more of the wall collapsed - and there are fears any further heavy rain would bring down the whole garden, or worse.
The beloved tree - described as one of the “best” in town – has been nurtured by owners of the property for decades.
Frances Greene, 93, has used the cones of the 100-year-old cedar in craft projects and nailed a “good luck” horseshoe into its bark during her 30 years at Bridge House.
“Mum loves this tree and the garden,” said her daughter, Judy Greene.
“She would be heartbroken if anything happened to it.”
“It’s not only her,” said Judy. “Everybody loves it. It was nominated as one of the best trees in the town- by complete strangers.”
Bridge House’s boundary came crashing down on Saturday night, after a month’s worth of rain fell in 24 hours causing the River Sid to rise metres above its normal level and burst its banks throughout the Byes.
On Sunday, the wall’s crumbled remains lay in the river, to be removed by the authorities on Monday.
A structural engineer has since visited the site and dispelled fears about a further slip.
“It is the tree roots which are holding it all together,” said a relieved Judy on Wednesday.
“We’re all very relieved, and very pleased that thanks to the tree we still have our garden.”
The ford has been re-opened and a new garden wall will be built as a matter of urgency, she added.