Workers wanted to remove the old tree due to issues at a nearby property.
A 70-year-old grandmother is not letting anyone cut down a beloved 61-year-old willow tree in Sheppey, Kent, where she has lived since 2007. Virginia Hanley, who is disabled and needs a walking stick to get around, staged a one-woman protest at the site of the tree to prevent workers from chopping the magnificent tree down. The local council has decided to remove the decades-old willow due to issues at a nearby property.
Armed with a walking stick, a chair and a quilt, Virginia Hanley is ready for battle.— Metro (@MetroUK) March 3, 2023
Nobody is getting in between her and her tree, and we're here for it 🌳 https://t.co/ckSNfnuQw1
The Englishwoman from Minster learned that the beloved gift of nature was about to get the axe in four hours under orders from Swale Borough Council and she was determined not to let that happen. “I replied saying ‘oh, so I’ve got four hours to try and sort this out?’ and he said, ‘oh no, I’m starting it now,’” she said, according to The Good News Network. With her walking stick, a chair, and a quilt, the 70-year-old dropped herself at the foot of the tree and braved the cold weather to take a stand. “While I was under the tree the workers told me they couldn’t wait while I was there because it was costing them money, so they left and they promised me they wouldn’t be back. But 15 minutes later, they were. I told them that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I wanted to know why this tree is coming down.”
The one-woman protest was no easy task as the mother-of-two was left living with a disability following a road accident in 1984, per The Metro. The incident left her with nerve damage and it’s now turned into nerve malfunction, which implies that she can’t walk long distances. Nevertheless, she was still determined to fight for the tree. But not everyone wanted to join her battle, Virgina’s neighbor, who has lived in his home for 25 years and preferred to remain anonymous, told the outlet that they wanted the tree to go. "My porch is collapsing and my insurance company, Direct Line, dug up my front garden to confirm it is the tree that is causing the subsidence. I don’t know what all this rubbish is about with her trying to save the tree. I can’t understand why she is worrying about a poxy tree, it’s like flogging a dead horse. I called the council and they told me on the phone that the tree is on their property and she has no right to sit under their trees."
But it looks like Hanley's protest is working and at the moment the old willow is still standing. She shares why it's so important to her that the old tree still stands. "There are three beautiful trees by my home which make living here a pleasure. They make it look nice and trees are essential, essential for our well-being. I didn’t like it when they came to cut it down and I always said if they try and take this tree down, I’m going to be sitting under it. I’ve got to do what I said I would do because it’s the right thing to do," she said.