When Avril and Christopher Rowlands first planted their Christmas tree on their front lawn 44 years ago, they would never have expected it to reach beyond 50ft.
Nearly five decades on, the once ordinary pine tree now dominates the skyline in Inkberrow, Worcestershire, and has become a local festive icon.
The towering evergreen is decorated with more than 1,000 lightbulbs each December, with the help of a local cherry-picker owner to reach the highest branches.
The Rowlands use the occasion to raise thousands of pounds for charity each year. Such is the spike in their electricity bill, however, that last year their energy provider became concerned and phoned up Mrs Rowlands.
“They actually got in touch with us two years ago, in January, and said: ‘Your electricity bill has gone very high. Can we help? Is there any reason this has happened?’
“So I told them and they said: ‘Oh, well, we'll donate £100.’”
Green Energy, their provider, has stepped up again this year, offering to knock £100 off the couple’s electricity bill.
The switching on of the lights has already raised £800 for Worcester Food Bank. Mrs Rowlands said that usually the couple chose a new charity each year, but are returning to the food bank for the second time in three years because it seemed appropriate given current circumstances.
In previous years, they have raised over £2,000 at a time for good causes.
Despite being one of Britain’s “darkest” villages – Inkberrow has no street lights and the locals like it that way, once voting against illuminations in a referendum – villagers have embraced the luminous conifer.
“We've only ever had very, very positive remarks, you know, there have even been some children who say that they like to look at the tree from their bedroom window,” said Mrs Rowlands.
“We've only ever had really, really good positive feedback. If they don't like it, they haven't told us.
“We couldn’t cut it down, we’d have to leave the village I think,” said Mrs Rowlands, before laughing.
The conifer began its West Midlands life as a regular 6ft-tall Christmas tree in 1978.
However, when Jan 6 arrived and it was time to dispose of it, Mr Rowlands found that he couldn’t. Instead, he planted it outside the house.
Little did he expect that it would take the Worcestershire soil like a duck to water.
There was a brief scare two years ago, when the Rowlands thought that the tree might be on its last legs.
“We thought it was dying, it had a lot of dead needles and branches and we were really quite worried about it,” said Mrs Rowlands.
“A friend came who works for the National Trust, and he said it's probably because a lot of roots run to the road. Not a lot you can do.
“But this year, for some reason, even though it's been very dry in the summer, it's just taking on a new lease of life.”
As well as local collection boxes, the couple have an online crowdfunder set up. The tree will remain lit up until Epiphany on Jan 6.