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A couple chosing a Christmas tree

Forestry Commission rangers are dreaming of a white Christmas - but not quite as white as last year!

Major snow falls last December meant many folk were unable to claim their forest fresh Christmas tree from the popular sales point in 3,440 hectare (8,600 acre) Dalby Forest, near Pickering, North Yorkshire.

So forest rangers in Dalby Forest are taking no chances this time round with the delivery of the first of this year's festive crop to Dalby ready for the launch of sales on 1 December. They have turned to a bunch of 4 x 4 experts in the shape of Siberian Huskies run by 42 year old Simon Manning, from Driffield.  He will don his Santa outfit and cry mush to bring the initial consignment of Norway spruce into the forest.

“Last year's double digit sub zero temperatures were ideal for the dogs, who run at their best in super chilled weather,” said Simon, a police officer, who represented Britain in the World Husky Championships in Sweden two years ago. "The huskies were in their element with all the snow and know North Yorkshire’s forest well as we practice in Dalby."

Tanya Rex, Dalby Forest Visitor Centre Manager, added:

"Huskies were a natural choice to launch this year's sales after the deep freeze we endured. The Norway spruce we sell is harvested from our local forests and freshly cut, with the proceeds going back into caring for our woods.  Many imported trees were cut months ago and kept in cold storage until December.  There's nothing to beat the look and fragrance of a fresh tree in the living room."

Adding to the sparkle of Christmas at Dalby will be a Stars with Santa special staged by Scarborough and Ryedale Astronomical Society on Friday the 3 December from 8pm and the traditional green-clad Father Christmas will be in residence at Dalby Forest Visitor Centre on the weekends of the 11 and 12 and 18 and 19 December. There will also be festive crafts at the visitor centre a chance to make some homemade decorations for your tree on the 11th and 18th December from 12-3pm.

Tree sales operate daily 10am to 4pm at the visitor centre from 1st December to 23rd December. Norway spruce, fragrant pines and elegant firs will all be up for grabs. 

Media calls to Richard Darn on 0775 367 0038.