Buy British message as Downing St Christmas tree winner announced

Stuart and Jennie Kirkup, who have been running Dartmoor Christmas Trees since 2002, are winners in the categories of Champion Christmas Tree and Champion Wreath, in the 18th British Christmas Tree Growers' Association's annual contest.

They won top prize for Champion Tree, Champion Tree Runner Up, Best Fir ‘Other’, Best Spruce Norway, Best Decorated Wreath, Best Natural Wreath, and Champion Festive Wreath.

The result means the couple will be responsible for supplying Number 10 Downing Street with two Christmas trees this year, and the wreath for the front door.

Harry Brightwell, secretary of the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, said: "Our message this year to all festive lovers is to make choosing a tree a special event for the household – and to ‘Buy Real, Buy British’."

Brexit-related currency issues could mean more expensive Christmas tree imports.

Stuart Kirkup said: "I just can’t believe it. For my wife or I to have come away with one prize between us would have been great, but for Jennie to win all three awards for her wreaths and for me to get so many for the trees – it’s just incredible, and not what I expected at all.

"Throughout the year I looked at the Spruce in the field in particular, and thought maybe that could be in with a chance for the annual BCTGA competition, but I never dared believe it might actual win the Champion spot. I’m delighted."

They employ around 25 staff at the peak of the festive season on their 35 acre farm: "There are certainly some tough times in Christmas tree growing, because for 10 months of the year you’re not seeing anything for the efforts you’re putting in. But at the same time, it’s something I absolutely love doing and the sense of reward in the busier times is terrific.

"That’s why we have so many staff coming back year after year to help us at the peak season. They love being involved with the trees. We have solicitors, accountants – all sorts. They can’t wait to get back in the field at Christmas time and help us."

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