What locals claim is the UK’s tallest handled Christmas tree is being erected for the 60th year running.
In 1959, a group of young men decided to brighten up the centre of Rhayader, Powys, at Christmas time with a giant tree in front of the town clock.
Every year since, volunteers head to the woods on the first Sunday of December to collect a 35ft tree now donated by Welsh Water and Elan Estate.
“It truly brings the town together,” said volunteer Nicolas Evans.
The tallest decorated tree is billed as a 110ft (33m) tall redwood at Wakehurst Place, near Ardingly, Sussex.
However that is a permanent fixture – planted in 1890 – while Rhayader’s tree has been chopped down and transported.
From the woods, the giant fir is loaded by hand onto a trailer, put up and decorated with lights and a star.
John Humphreys, who has been helping to collect the tree since the tradition began, said: “I couldn’t envisage that 60 years down the line I’d still be going up to the wood with a band of merry men and bringing back with me the largest man-handled tree in Wales. It’s been an honour over the years.”
Volunteer Nicolas Evans added: “This is the highlight of the year for me, it’s the only date in my calendar.
“It’s something I’ve done since a child. What better way to spend it having [than] a drink in the local bar and having a good old sing song of hymns and songs of yesteryear after a day’s graft with great friends.”
Dai Davies, of the Rhayader Christmas Tree Committee, is among the third generation of volunteers from his family.
“It’s an honour to be part of such an historic tradition and so great to still see the original members make the annual pilgrimage up the wood,” he said.