How dairy?! See town's ice-cream cone Christmas tree

The coronavirus-themed alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum. Inset, designer and builder, Jim Bond. 

The coronavirus-themed alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum. Inset, designer and builder, Jim Bond. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Mark Bullimore

This year's alternative Christmas tree in Cromer has been unveiled - it's an upside-down ice-cream full of coronavirus topped by an angelic NHS nurse.

The 3m art installation called Conid-99 was made by Cromer architect Jim Bond, who said it was a comment on the uniquely challenging year 2020 had been.

Mr Bond, 70, said: "It's a Covid-flavoured ice cream turned upside-down to say 'we don't want this'. Then there's a nurse with a halo sitting at the top making it all right.

"It shows that we're getting on top of it, we're squeezing it out, and the ice-cream is fairly relevant to a seaside town."

The coronavirus-themed alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum. Inset, designer and builder, Jim Bond. 

The coronavirus-themed alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum. Inset, designer and builder, Jim Bond. - Credit: Brittany Woodman/Mark Bullimore

Mr Bond made the tree in his garage. He said: "It took a couple of weeks, on and off, with lots of papier mache, chicken wire, paint and expanding foam for the 'ice cream'. And plenty of cups of tea."

He has made an alternative tree - which sits in front of Cromer Museum in Church Street - ever year since 2012, and it serves a counterpoint to the traditional Christmas tree installed in the nearby garden of Cromer Parish Church.

MORE: Christmas is coming! Centrepiece tree marks start of town’s festive season


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The tree always sparks discussion and usually a few split opinions. 

Jim Bond, Cromer architect, who designs the town's alternative Christmas tree each year. 

Jim Bond, Cromer architect, who designs the town's alternative Christmas tree each year. - Credit: MARK BULLIMORE

Mr Bond said: "The idea is to get people talking and create a bit of an attraction. Whether they like it or not is another matter."

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The installation always has a tree-like shape. In 2012 it was a pyramid made up 150 crab and lobster pots.  In 2014 it was a seven-metre tall pyramid which also served as an advent calendar, with each window containing a display made by a different community group.

In 2016 it was a huge gold star, and in 2017 it was a bundle of painted tree branches, turned upside down and decorated with baubles.

But Mr Bond said he was open to someone else taking over the project in future years. 

He said: "I'm trying to get more people involved and if anyone has an idea for next year I'd be more than happy to hear from them, let them have a go, and help if I can."

Gallery: Alternative Christmas trees through the years

The crab pot Christmas tree in Cromer town centre.PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The first alternative Cromer Christmas tree in 2012 featured stacked crab and lobster pots. - Credit: ANTONY KELLY

Cromer fishing net Christmas tree

The alternative Cromer Christmas tree in 2013 was made of a fishing net. - Credit: Richard Batson

Cromer advent Christmas tree

The 2014 Cromer alternative Christmas tree doubled as an advent calendar. - Credit: Richard Batson

Cromer Christmas Lights switch on by the town church. Pictured is the alternative Christmas tree in

2015's alternative Christmas tree in Cromer was a small forest of candles. - Credit: MARK BULLIMORE

The alternative Cromer Christmas tree n Picture by Andreas Yiasimi

The alternative Christmas tree in 2017, which featured upside-down tree branches and baubles. - Credit: Andreas Yiasimi

The alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum. Picture: Cromer Christmas Festival

The alternative Christmas tree in front of Cromer Museum in 2019 was a mass of plastic bottles in a fishing net. - Credit: Cromer Christmas Festival


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