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29 October 2014
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The Jubilee Oak - A Sense of Place - Programme Six

Sunday 2 June, 12.05-12.35pm

Friday 7 June, 2.10-2.40pm (repeat)

BBC Essex - 103.5 & 95.3 FM

Planted to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee, the huge oak tree in the village of Sandon near Chelmsford was the symbol of a community for more than a century, and the largest of its kind in Britain.

Chris Mann lives next to the village green and says: "There's not a young girl in the village who’s not met someone by the tree, according the noises and the laughter that we hear from time to time. We have got a whole new crop of young women with children and I was speaking to some of them recently and someone said 'Yes, I remember doing my courting there' so yes, there are some people locally that did meet their guys and get married."

When the tree collapsed and died, there was a great sense of loss, but now three new trees have been planted to continue its legacy and mark Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee.

Local historian Reg Bush was stunned when the tree collapsed: "I was very distressed. It was part of my life. This tree had always been the centre of everything in the village and its disappearance without any warning was absolutely tragic to me."

Linda Zabell lives opposite the village green where the tree stood: "It was the last one to lose its leaves and the very last one to come out too, so that's why you noticed it."

Music from Vivaldi's Four Seasons is interwoven with descriptions and stories about the tree from adults and children.

Producer: Anton Jarvis, BBC Essex

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