Return to Our Tree of Love; CARVED WITH PRIDE 64 YEARS AGO, A SWEETHEART'S INITIALS

Daily Mail (London), March 28, 1998 | Go to article overview

Return to Our Tree of Love; CARVED WITH PRIDE 64 YEARS AGO, A SWEETHEART'S INITIALS


THAT summer Sunday afternoon in 1934 is etched on the memory of Phyllis Kelly.

It was then, as a lovestruck teenager, that her sweetheart Bert carved her initials next to his on a towering beech tree.

The intimate moment was consigned to her memory as the couple went on to enjoy a long and happy marriage. But yesterday it came flooding back as they stood beneath the same tree again.

A photograph of the carving had appeared in a local paper and the couple 'owned up' immediately.

The tree stands in Morgas-ton Woods in the grounds of The Vyne stately home estate in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

It was much more gnarled than it had been when they first stood beneath it, but the initials, complete with a heart and cupid's arrow, were unmistakeable.

Mr Kelly, now 82, first carved his initials in 1932. He said: 'Two years later I was courting Phyllis, whose surname was Harmsworth then.

I can still remember when I added her initials. It was 1934 and she was just 15.

'It was a lovely, warm summer's day. It would have been a Sunday, because that was the only day I had off work.

'I lived in the village of Sher-borne St John and us locals would often walk down here, when we used to call it Beech Walk.

'It's amazing how the tree has grown around the carving. It's so much taller than it was back in those days.' The photograph was taken by Frank Winter, 53, a regular visitor to the woods, who had spotted the initials BK and PH. …

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Return to Our Tree of Love; CARVED WITH PRIDE 64 YEARS AGO, A SWEETHEART'S INITIALS
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