Council worker chosen to pick Tree-mendous gift for city

A council worker whose last pre-Covid Christmas was shattered by the tragic death of her husband – has been given some festive cheer.

Mum of two Jacki Howarth, whose husband died in December 2019, has been chosen to pick Liverpool’s official Christmas tree after winning a council staff competition.

Jacki Howarth, who is a Private Sector Housing Enforcement Support Officer, penned a heart-warming entry to claim the unique opportunity of choosing the tree. She travelled to a tree plantation in the West Midlands to select the 55ft Norwegian Spruce, which will light-up the city centre this festive season.

Dubbed ‘Mission Christmas’ – the competition took place to find the most Christmassy colleague who wanted to take on this magical task.

Kenny Brew, a LCC Streetscene Manager has chosen the tree for the last 14 years, but was happy this year to pass the responsibility on to Jacki.

The tree will be delivered to Liverpool next month and will be on display from Thursday 25 November until early New Year. Jacki’s duties aren’t yet complete, she will part of the switching on lights ceremony, alongside the Lord Mayor, Cllr Mary Rasmussen.

Jacki Howarth, Private Sector Housing Enforcement Support Officer, said: “It was an amazing experience. All my Christmases had come at once! The tree I selected stood out by a million miles. I carried out the ‘official’ checks to ensure there were no gaps, brown areas, it was the right height and width. It was like choosing a new pair of shoes, you always go back to first pair you saw.

“When I signed the reserved tag ‘Liverpool – Jacki’s tree’ I can’t tell you how happy I was. I had completed my task. It’s something that I’ll never forget and neither will my children. I can’t wait for everyone to see it.”

Kenny Brew, Streetscene Manager, said: “Jacki was certainly the right person for the job. Her passion for Christmas is infectious and she knows a thing or two about Christmas trees – she had done some homework before our trip! It didn’t take Jacki long before she found the right one, when you know, you just know!

“Jacki’s next mission is to ensure the tree is delivered and placed in its bespoke tree pit in November and that it sits perfectly straight when lifted into place with the help of our fantastic team of arborists from LSSL who make this look so easy every year.”

Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Mary Rasmussen, said: “Our competition has been fantastic fun for our colleagues, and at the same time its raising awareness of one of the unique tasks which the council takes responsibility for. It’s also a great way to showcase the process of selecting a ‘good’ Christmas tree which will stand proud on Church street for all to see.”

“The only downside of the trip is that I may have done myself out of a job, as Jacki will now be Mrs Christmas when she gets lots of positive comments on her tree when its switched on.”

Liverpool Waterfront