Tree-dom for Trev after council 'sees the light'

Archbishop Trevor Huddleston
Archbishop Trevor Huddleston

HE fought for liberty in South Africa but now one of Bedford’s greatest sons will have a slice of his own freedom after a council announced plans to shift a Christmas tree blocking his view.

For the last few years a bust of Bishop Trevor Huddleston in Silver Street, Bedford has been swamped by a poorly positioned fern sparking outrage among residents of the town.

Now bosses at Bedford Borough Council have cottoned on to public disgust by moving the focal point of Bedford’s festive decorations to behind the statue.

Since 2009 the authority has been forced to prune the tree to keep Trevor Huddleston in view.

But this year the council has announced that the Christmas tree will be planted in a flower bed ahead of the lights being switched on later this month.

Councillor for Castle Ward, which includes the town centre, Apu Bagchi has welcome the move, he said: “I, like many residents of the town, was very upset that the memorial was moved to be replaced by the silver faces. To then put a Christmas tree which blocked the bust was outrageous.

“I’m all for the tree being in a prominent position in the town but there was always more appropriate places. If this is this case that the bust won’t be blocked by the tree then this is fantasic news.

“To treat one of the finest men of our life time that way is terrible and I’m glad that the borough council has finally seen the light.”

Bishop Huddleston, who was fierce campaigner for the abolition of apartheid in the African nation, is considered one of Bedford’s most famous former residents.

It was in 2000 former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, came to Bedford to unveil Bishop Huddleston’s statue.

A quote from Mr Mandela inscribed on the base of the bust reads ‘No white person has done more for South Africa than Trevor Huddleston.’

The treatment of the former clergyman’s memorial has sparked protests on social media networks in the past. Last year a ‘free Huddleston’ campaign was started.

A spokeswoman from the council said: “In order to ensure that the Trevor Huddleston bust is not obscured and that a Christmas tree is retained in the important town centre location of Silver Street, the council has undertaken works to install a new tree pit in one of the planting beds in this area. The tree will be planted in its new location prior to the switching on of the Christmas Lights on November 21.”

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