He has spent the last 49 Christmases decorating one of Birmingham’s most iconic trees. But electrician Geoff Davis has decided to switch off his lighting up duties at the Bournville Christmas tree.
Geoff, a 65 year-old Bournville Village Trust worker, decorated the 60 foot tree with 650 coloured bulbs for the last time on Monday, December 1.
The grandfather-of-two first started to adorn the tree, thought to be the largest in the Midlands, in 1965 when he worked as an apprentice for an electrical firm.
Geoff Davis mounting the lights this year.
And after enduring fog, wind and sometimes show with his team of eight Geoff is happy to hand over his duties to his co-workers – confident the giant tree planted in 1948 to commemorate the 90th birthday of Dame Elizabeth Cadbury, will retain its worldwide reputation.
Geoff, who lives in Selly Oak with his wife, said: “At 16 years old, I never imagined that I’d still be hanging up the lights.
“It takes a team of eight of us nearly a whole day to do and you have to have a head for heights as the crane we use is one of the tallest in Europe.
“It’s a continuous job of securing the lights and dropping the lights so they look good.
“But the star is where it all starts.
“We’ve been using the same one for 55 years.”
Over the years Geoff has received many messages from people telling him how much the tree means to them.
Locals send photos of it to relatives across Britain, Europe and beyond.
Geoff only missed a couple years, due to ill health and a short change of job.
The famous 55 year old star.
And keeping an eye on the tree can prove to be a full time job, with some unexpected surprises.
Geoff said: “About 10 Christmases ago, I got a call from my mum after she had visited from north Wales for a Boxing Day meal.
“When she left she went by Bournville to look at the tree, but the lights had gone out.
“At about 10pm I had a call from north Wales telling me, ‘Geoff, your lights our out on the tree!’”
Steve Fellows, Head of Asset Management at Bournville Village Trust, said: “As well as decorating the Christmas tree, Geoff also hangs lights at the Trust’s nursing home, retirement scheme and the shops on the Village Green, bringing joy to thousands of people.
How the same tree, decorated by Geoff, looked back in 1975.
“He really is the man who lights up Bournville and although he will be sadly missed when he retires next year, we have an excellent team of electricians and apprentices who will carry on the much-loved tradition.”
Dame Elizabeth Cadbury’s husband, George, founded Bournville Village Trust in 1900.