BRITAIN'S darkest village is lit up by festive lights after a couple decorated their huge Christmas tree which they planted as a sapling more than 40 years ago.

Avril Rowlands and her husband Christopher put the 6ft fir in their front garden after enjoying their first Christmas at their new home in 1978.

The tree has now grown to 52ft and towers above their four-bedroom detached house in the Worcestershire village of Inkberrow.

On Sunday (8/12) the couple celebrated the monster fir’s 41st anniversary when they switched on the dazzling decorations.

The lit-up tree is the only landmark visible in the village which is one of the darkest places in Britain.

Inkberrow - where the 17th century pub is the inspiration for The Bull in Radio 4 series The Archers - is one of a handful of places which doesn’t have any street lights.

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As a result the giant tree can be seen from a mile away at night.

Retired TV writer Mrs Rowlands 74, said: “The switch-on event has become an absolute institution for the village and we have hundreds of people see the tree.

“We’ve even had tourists coming from as far as China to have their pictures taken by the tree.

“Because of the village’s status as one of the darkest places in the country, when the tree is lit up it really becomes a beacon of light.”

The couple moved to the quiet village in the summer of 1978 after selling their home in London.

Mrs Rowlands said: “It is amazing to think that the tree started as a 6ft tall sapling which we bought for just £6.

“I remember after that first Christmas thinking to myself that I didn’t want to just throw the tree out so I planted it in the front garden.

“It took straight away and every year it’s just grown taller and taller.

“It now takes 1,100 to light the tree, I don’t look at the electricity bill until after Christmas.”