In Glastonbury, the festive season does not really begin until a sprig is taken from the holy thorn tree and sent to the Queen.
It is a tradition dating back more than 100 years, with the sprig being sent to Balmoral to put on Her Majesty’s Christmas table.
It is cut by the oldest child at St John’s Infants school from the thorn in St John’s churchyard in the centre of the town.
And on Thursday, December 19 it was the turn of Eva Benfield, aged seven.
The ceremony is led by vicar the Rev David MacGeoch and mayor Denise Michell.
It is believed monks from Glastonbury Abbey took care of the original, which legend says grew after Joseph of Arimathea planted his staff on Wearyall Hill 2,000 years ago.
The monks then took cuttings to preserve the tree.
A number of the thorn trees exist in the town but the one in St John’s churchyard currently has the sacred status.
The thorn is unusual as it flowers twice a year – in May and at Christmas – unlike a normal hawthorn which flowers once in May.
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