Devon

Heatwave claims Torquay Agatha Christie oak

Tree Image copyright Torbay Council
Image caption The fallen bough left the rest of the tree unsafe and it has been removed said the local authority

An oak tree which sheltered crime writer Agatha Christie from the sun has fallen victim to the heatwave.

The tree at Barton Cricket Club, Torquay, known as the Agatha Christie Oak, partially collapsed and has been removed, Torbay Council said.

Christie, who was born near the cricket club, watched her father play cricket there.

The council said it was with "great sadness" that it had removed the tree for public safety reasons.

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Image copyright Torbay Council
Image caption The tree had suffered from disease for many years

It said it had suffered from disease for many years.

"Many tree experts have admired this tree, provided technical advice and we have carried out restoration works to the canopy, removed the tarmac around the base of the tree and created a woodland environment to help improve its health," the council said.

Image copyright Torbay Council
Image caption The tree provided shelter for the young Christie who was born nearby

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Adam Latham, secretary of the cricket club, said the tree was a favourite summer spot to sit for Christie, who was born 200 yards from the club.

He said: "There were concerns about a couple of fungus diseases [on the tree], but the council had been fighting a losing battle.

"Then we had a lot of wet weather, followed by the heatwave, and it was not looking very healthy at all. It appears that the heat put paid to it."

The club is working with the National Trust which owns Christie's former home, Greenway, near Dartmouth, to find a replacement.

"We hope to find a sapling to continue the Christie connection," said Mr Latham.

Image copyright PA

Queen of Crime

  • Born 15 September 1890, Torquay
  • Died 12 January 1976
  • Nickname: Queen of Mystery or Queen of Crime
  • Sold an estimated 300m books during her lifetime
  • Published 83 books
  • Made a Dame of the British Empire in 1971
  • More on Agatha Christie

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