Ribbons, poems and messages were tied to beloved ‘Vernon’, the only tree on Vernon Road, as around a hundred campaigners and members of the local community came together to prove to the council that they would not go down without a fight.
Some brought signs that read ‘save the Vernon oak’, ‘keep Sheffield green’ and ‘we live here too’.
Dressed in red and green, the crowd grouped together to make a human heart.
Songs were performed by organiser Sally Goldsmith with lyrics: ‘We are singing very loud, very loud, ‘cos Vernon makes us very proud, very proud’.
Councillor Colin Ross, said: “This tree ought to be saved. When we’ve been to see Bryan Lodge with members of the community over the years we’ve actually said: ‘we’re not trying to save every single tree in Dore and Totley, we’re realistic, but there are certain ones that are really iconic.’ If the council can’t find a way using a bigger common sense to save a tree like this, I despair, as a councillor at what we’re doing. We’re certainly not giving up.”
Many of the supporters disagree with the council’s decision to fell ‘Vernon’ as, in their view, he is healthy and does not obstruct the pavement.
Paul Brooke, who was arrested for protesting a tree felling on Chippendale road, said: “I realised that most of the reason for felling the trees was to make it easier to put the new road surfaces and highways down. That’s wrong. We have a right to peaceful protest in law.”
Those who have been arrested for protesting over the past few months will appear in court early next month, where the trade union law used to arrest them, will be tested.
If you would like to find out more about it, or join the local campaign, visit: https://www.savesheffieldtrees.org.uk
https://www.facebook.com/groups/SaveDoreTrees on Facebook
@SaveDoreTrees on Twitter.
You can also sign their petition: https://www.change.org/p/sheffield-city-council-save-dore-trees