The last hour in the life of the 150 year old Copper Beech at Suffolk House on Sunday 9th March 2020

By Joy Lock, President, Thompson Park Area Environmental Group

Photo: the copper beech in its full glory, summer 2019

We stood there until the last, in the chill and drizzle, clinging on to the tall steel barriers, watching with horror the brutal end unfolding before our eyes. 

We were all looking up at Steve, our Hero, from Extinction Rebellion, who had sat patiently and defiantly in his eyrie from 5 o’clock that morning. He was perched in a comfortable hollow in the Copper Beech with the strong branches supporting him. 

At around 5 o’clock in the evening, John Pinn, Director of CPS Housing and the Police finally sent up a tree surgeon with a chain saw to take his position to the left of Steve in his hollow, then a Cherrypicker with 2 men with chain saws rose up in the air to the come right up face to face before Steve.    

These men with their chain saws brutally and viciously hacked the thick branches surrounding Steve’s eyrie, coming dangerously close to his body. 

We, on the ground, looked on in horror and cried out and begged them to be careful.  One of the men let his chain saw fall and it dangled so close to Steve that we again sent up a huge cry for them to be careful.  The Police did nothing. 

Then Steve had no option but to surrender and step into the Cherrypicker, he was brought down and was promptly arrested by the Police.  He was marched to the back entrance of Suffolk House on Llandaff Road.

A group of us ran around there to see him being put into a Police car. 

A lovely neighbour, had brought a flask of hot soup and made sandwiches for him but the Police would not let her give them to him.

We were desolate and worn out by this time, this was the end and we were all choked up and grief stricken.  A neighbour started to weep, her mother comforted her and an XR organiser put his arms around us for a group hug.  It was too, too distressing.  We hugged and cried for the loss of such a marvellous, health giving, beautiful tree which had stood majestically for 150 years and had now come to such a horrible and brutal end. 

Joy Lock 

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