The Christmas tree 94-year-old Elsie bought for 21 shillings after World War Two that is still being enjoyed by her neighbours

Elsie Eve standing proudly with her 70-year-old tree and next door neighbours Toby and James Picture

Elsie Eve standing proudly with her 70-year-old tree and next door neighbours Toby and James Picture: Ailsa Sheldon - Credit: Archant

A Christmas tree is still standing 70 years after a Norfolk pensioner bought it for the equivalent of £1.05 whilst working at a handbag factory in the 1940s.

Toby and James helping 94-year-old Elsie assemble her Christmas Tree Picture: Ailsa Sheldon

Toby and James helping 94-year-old Elsie assemble her Christmas Tree Picture: Ailsa Sheldon - Credit: Archant

Elsie Eve, 94, of Belton, has become the 'adopted Norfolk granny' of the Sheldon family who live next door and she shared the story of the much-loved tree as they decorated together.

Elise was born in 1922 and was the second eldest of six children to parents Lilian and William.

During the war they had to all go into different shelters in case they were all bombed together.

When the war ended, aged 24, she got a job as head machinist at a handbag factory in Queensbury, North London, where another girl in the factory had bought a cheap Christmas tree.


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Elsie asked her friend if she would get her one as it was just 21 shillings.

All the family loved the new tree, especially her younger sisters Doris and Joyce.

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The tree became the centrepiece of festivities in the family home.

Ailsa Sheldon, Elsie's next door neighbour, said: 'Every year they had the tree up. Her dad used to put it up from the cupboard.

'When her dad passed away and Elsie stayed with her mum and little dog the tree became Elsie's responsibilty.'

When Elsie retired she went to stay with her sister in Wales for two weeks and ended up buying a bungalow for £35,000 and lived there for three years.

The tree moved to Wales too.

She then moved to Northampton near her brother for another three years and finally to Norfolk to be near another brother.

The Christmas Tree that has stood the test of time Picture: Ailsa Sheldon

The Christmas Tree that has stood the test of time Picture: Ailsa Sheldon - Credit: Archant

Again, the tree followed.

The Sheldon family met Elsie after they asked her if their children could walk her dog.

Ailsa added: 'A few years ago we persuaded her to have her cataracts done on Christmas Eve as she was having difficulty reading but she was scared to have an operation.

'My husband is an eye surgeon and so we knew she would get her drops put in if she spent Christmas day with us.

'Since then she has visited for Christmas day lunch each year and the boys, Toby and James, help her with her tree which they love because it is very unique.

'She is very proud of her tree.'

Have you got a Christmas story? Get in touch at Louisa.Baldwin@Archant.co.uk

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