A.F. Harrold’s ‘The Friendship Tree’ rings out in Trafalgar Square

Three children in green school uniform coats in foreground, with teachers and poets smiling behind them.
St Joseph’s Primary School pupils with teachers, poet coach Coral Rumble and author of ‘The Friendship Tree’ A.F. Harrold. Photo by Hayley Madden for The Poetry Society.

It’s that time of year again! Every year since 2009, The Poetry Society has commissioned a new poem celebrating the friendship between Oslo and London, as symbolised by the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree. This year, poet A.F. Harrold undertook this festive task.

As part of this project, seven primary schools across Westminster participated in funded workshops with poets Coral Rumble, Cheryl Moskowitz, Francesca Beard, Antosh Wojcik and Joshua Seigal, encouraging local schoolchildren to write in celebration of the tree’s arrival from Norway. A.F. Harrold weaved some of the children’s ideas produced in these workshops into his magical poem, ‘The Friendship Tree’.

On Thursday 7 December the lights on the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree were lit, marking for many Londoners the start of the festive season. As part of the ceremony, ‘The Friendship Tree’ was performed magnificently by Julius, Emma, and Raphael, three pupils from St Joseph’s Primary School who had worked with Coral Rumble.

A.F. Harrold’s poem describes the journey of the Norwegian spruce given to London by Oslo every year, and the friendship between the two cities. ‘The Friendship Tree’ can be read on our website, and seen on banners encircling the tree in Trafalgar Square into the New Year. The beautifully colourful banners feature artwork by Peter Austin.

The Trafalgar Square Christmas tree was first sent to London in 1947 as a mark of thanks for Britain’s support during the Second World War. Every year the Lord Mayor of Westminster visits Oslo for the traditional tree-felling ceremony.

Look North More Often has been generously supported by businesses from across the area, through The Northbank Business Improvement District, joined this year by Fox Rodney Search.

To find out more about the poem, the project and the event, read the Press Release and visit the Look North More Often project area of the website.



8 December 2017