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Sorry end to tree saga

PHOTO/FILE

Charity firewood goes walkabout

HAYLEY GASTMEIER
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The life of Featherston’s controversial oak tree may have come to an end, but the saga of its demise continues.

Despite public protest, St Andrew’s Union Church felled the tree that was on its Fox St land 13 days ago.

The church donated the wood to the Featherston Lions to distribute to families in need – but almost half the firewood was stolen over the weekend.

President of the Lions Club of Featherston Doreen Taylor said it was disappointing because the wood was for a worthy cause.

Lions members removed the smaller pieces of wood from the church site on Saturday, with the plan of removing the larger pieces once they had been cut up the next day.

But the wood was gone when congregation members arrived at the church on Sunday morning.

Taylor said it had taken members almost two weeks to get together for the Saturday working bee, when three trailer-loads of firewood were collected.

She said the remaining wood that disappeared was “probably two big trailer loads”.

Taylor said the club wasn’t going to take the matter to police, but added it was “disappointing that someone lowered themselves to that level”.

St Andrew’s Union Church member Corrie Dykhorst said the congregation took the charitable view that whoever took the wood must have needed it.

She said it was well publicised that the wood was to be donated to the Lions.

And while the wood may have sat on the church’s lawn for more than a week, there was no sign saying “free wood”.

“But as a church, we hope the people who took the wood will enjoy it.”

Dykhorst, who is on the parish council, said the church maintained its position that the oak posed a danger to the community.

“It’s a blessing in disguise that the tree came down because of the rot in it.”

However, tree expert and environmental expert Richie Hill said he had seen the trunk and the decay was “nothing that wouldn’t be unexpected for an oak tree of this age to exhibit”.

Hill previously offered to pay maintenance costs for trimming the tree away from power lines in a bid to convince the church to preserve it.

“The base, or now a stump, would need to be beyond 75 per cent decayed to be any cause of concern . . . and it certainly wasn’t any where near that.”

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