A 5,000-year-old fossilised oak tree discovered in the fens around Ely was raised from the ground this week.

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The giant ancient oak was discovered perfectly preserved in the fen peat of Southery and will now be used as part of a project to create a round table to honour the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Despite measuring a gigantic 44ft in length, biologists believe that what they have found may be as little as a quarter-sized section of the full-sized tree.

It took engineers two hours to haul the mighty oak out of the ground and some initial sawmilling was carried out to help make the tree easier to transport to the Building Crafts College in Stratford, London.

The wood will then be cut down into planks and dried before work is started to transform it into the jubilee table, which will be gifted to the nation.

A spokesman for the Diamond Jubilee Fenland Black Oak Project, said: “The intention is for the design to be steered by a group of leading British furniture designer-makers.

“The table will be specialist kiln-dried at the Building Crafts College in Stratford and constructed by the college’s fine woodworking students under careful supervision.”

The group of sponsors supporting this project is growing and includes Logosol UK, Insitu Design, Coillte Panel Products (SmartPly OSB), the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and the Building Crafts College in Stratford– with support either financially or in services worth in some cases tens of thousands of pounds.

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