Shropshire Star

Newport has colourful makeover as mayor encourages people to be hopeful

The old song goes ‘tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree’ ... well, the ribbons may be multi-coloured and the tree clearly not an oak, but the message of hope is still there.

People in Newport have taken to hanging colourful ribbons from trees and railings around the town, and putting up pictures of rainbows. It started with a tree at St. Nicholas Church which is covered in ribbons. Mayor Peter Scott and Reverend Merry Smith marvel at the tree at St Nicholas Church

As the nation faces more weeks under lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak, one Shropshire community has shown its true colours with a message of faith and hope for a brighter future.

Trees, pubs, shops and other venues across Newport have been draped in colourful ribbons or rainbows, as the townspeople try to bring about hope and positivity.

Peter Scott, mayor of Newport, said the idea came to him when he was watching a TV programme where pilgrims tied a piece of ribbon to a tree in Turkey when they passed it, and so he brought the idea to Newport.

"I wondered if we could have a tree like that here," he said. "A tree of hope because we are in a terrible situation at the moment but we all hope things will get better and it will end soon and we will get through it.

"We put coloured ribbon or small things such as Easter eggs or rainbows around town so people have something positive and colourful to look at.

"I spoke to Reverend Merry Smith because the only tree I could find in the area that was accessible and in a good location was the one on the front of St Nicholas Church. She fell in love with the idea straight away and we put a couple of pieces up to encourage others to do it."

Peter said the idea is meant to encourage positivity but has warned people not to make special journeys to take part – the decorations can be hung on people's own property or other places around town.

He said: "I have made it clear that people should not make a special journey – only if they are on their way through or passing during their daily exercise.

"You can hang the ribbons anywhere in town that is on your normal daily walk.

"The man who runs the Shakespeare Inn also said people were welcome to put pieces up on their railings if they liked.

"I have seen ribbons and things on other trees and dotted around the town. It shows that people have hope and they are looking to the future. It has started to look rather beautiful.

"It is a nice feeling that these things are for the good of the town and the good of the people. We will make sure everything is used afterwards, when they are taken down.

"I hope other communities will join us doing this."

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