CHOPPERED FESTIVE TREES BOUND FOR INVERNESS TAKE CHRISTMAS TO HEART

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14 NOVEMBER 2005NEWS RELEASE No: 8069

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Christmas trees bound for Inverness this festive season will this week commence their journey to the city centre in high-flying style. The trees will be air-lifted by helicopter from their felling site deep in the centre of Forestry Commission Scotland's Torrachility Forest near Contin before being transferred to a more traditional mode of vehicle transport. (photo-opportunity - see notes to editor)

The trees, carefully selected by Forestry Commission Scotland staff, are bound for the Inverness Castle, Town House and Falcon Square. They will be Norway spruces of between 30 to 40 feet in height.

Logistically their transportation to the city will be a challenge with a difference as Brian Duff, the Commission's Recreation Forester, explained;

    "The giant spruces are currently growing in the middle of the forest where it's too inaccessible for timber transport lorries to get to hence we've arranged this rather dramatic and unusual way to start of their journey to Inverness city centre. A helicopter will air-lift the spruces to a nearby transportation lorry from where they will continue the journey. It may not be Santa's sleigh-ride but it will certainly ensure that the people of Inverness and its visitors will be able to enjoy the stunning real trees this Christmas."

The Christmas tree heading for Inverness Castle will not only bring joy to locals throughout the festive season but also help launch the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Scotland's Highland Heart to Heart appeal.

BHF Scotland's Highland Heart to Heart appeal is aiming to raise 500,000 to provide five specialist heart nurses for the region. In return for a minimum 5 donation, a Christmas light on the tree will be dedicated to loved ones who may have passed on as a result of heart failure or to someone living with heart disease. BHF nurses help patients escape the misery of heart disease and enjoy a better quality of life. Donations can be made by contacting Ann Melia at the BHF on 01463 783 338.

Meanwhile anyone wishing to purchase a Christmas tree for their home from the Forestry Commission Scotland's sales centre at Tower Road, Smithton, will be able to do so from Tuesday 6 December. For further information about opening times and how to get there will be posted on www.forestry.gov.uk/christmas from Monday 21 November.

Notes to Editors:
1) Anyone wishing to send a photographer to capture the helicopter lifting the trees should contact Brian Duff, Recreation Forester Inverness District, tel: 01463 791 575; email: brian.duff@forestry.gsi.gov.uk, for further information in advance.

2) The trees will be felled on Tuesday 15 November and air-lifted on Thursday 17 November at 0900hrs. Note it will not be possible to travel in the helicopter.

3) Research shows that heart patients live longer with specialist nursing care at home. For further information about the British Heart Foundation visit www.bhf.org.uk

Media Enquiries to:
Diana McGowan, Forestry Commission Scotland, press office, tel: 0131 314 6507, email: diana.mcgowan@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Brian Duff, Forestry Commission Inverness District, tel: 01463 791 575, email: brian.duff@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Maggie Wright, British Heart Foundation, tel: 0131 226 3622, email: maggie@mwa-scotland.com

e-mail: diana.mcgowan@forestry.gsi.gov.uk