New almond tree on High Street will be planted “this week”

Hotelier Jeremy Mogford is funding a replacement for the beloved tree, which was removed in January.

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Credit: Tejvan Pettinger

The tree stood outside the University Church of St Mary the Virgin on Oxford’s High Street.

It was reportedly damaged by the heatwave in summer 2018, losing one of its branches. In January of this year, it was deemed “no longer safe” and was cut down.

The removal was met with “sadness” by both tourists and students.

However, Jeremy Mogford, who owns multiple establishments in the city, including the Old Bank Hotel (which houses Quod), and Gee’s in north Oxford, has pledged to replace it.

He stated: “I was very sad to see it go – its amazing to see how many people said the almond tree heralded spring. We are part of the vista of The High and the tree is an important part of that vista – it’s very important for the people of Oxford and for tourists who visit the city.”

The vicar of the church, Rev Dr William Lamb, has said that the new almond tree is expected to be planted on Thursday at 10:30am. The planting will be “coordinated by” staff from the university parks department.

He stated: “We tried to save the old tree but it was dangerous – we had no choice but to cut it down.

It’s a generous offer from Mr Mogford, which we have accepted – each new tree will cost hundreds of pounds.

Experts from the university parks department, which looks after our churchyard, are now selecting suitable trees which will be between two to three metres in height.”

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