Perthshire farm supplies Foreign Office with 16ft Christmas tree

Perthshire Christmas tree farm has supplied the Foreign Office in London with a “morale-boosting” 16ft Nordmann fir.

Family-run Sholach Christmas Trees was invited to provide the building with one of their trees, grown on the banks of Marlee Loch near Blairgowrie, after winning a competition.

Sholach is run by the McIntyre family and was established by William McIntyre more than 20 years ago.

William passed away in 2012 but two of his children, Kelly and Willie Jr, their mother, Jean, and Kelly’s son, Connall, work for the business.

Kelly, who also works as a professional photographer and videographer, said she was close to tears when she saw photos of our tree up and decorated in the Foreign office.

“It was a proud day for our family seeing our tree beautifully decorated in the office in London,” she said.

“It’s a tree our father planted and I know he would be proud of our achievements.”

It was Kelly who entered the “best short film” category of an annual competition run by the British Christmas Tree Growers Association.

“When I found out the BCTGA had a video competition, I knew I had no excuse not to enter,” she said.

“I’ve filmed and photographed around the farm for more than a decade.

“The difficult bit was making the Christmas tree film only two minutes long!”

When she found out the film had won, Kelly was “beyond ecstatic”.

“It’s such a great opportunity to share our story with people across the UK and further afield, promoting not only us but our beautiful bit of Perthshire.”

Kelly’s brother Willie popped down to London to supply the giant tree.

It’s been festooned with decorations and takes pride of place inside the foyer of the Foreign Office.

Racquel Black, diary manager to the Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Philip Barton, said it was a “fabulous tree” and a “great morale booster”.

She added: “We loved the personal touch your winning video had and the family history behind your story. How lovely that your father planted this tree. Very well done.”

As with many businesses, Sholach has had to adapt in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Newly-introduced measures include social distancing, hand sanitisers and one-way systems.

“So far the season has been great for us,” said Kelly.

“So many people have wanted a real Christmas tree – earlier than in previous years.

“At weekends we have been inviting people out to our farm to choose their trees from the fields next to the loch. It adds that wee bit of extra sparkle to a family day out.

“We’ve put so much hard work into growing this business and making it our home.

“We’ve gone from only selling wholesale to a few clients to having our pop-up shop in London, working with PKAVS mental health and wellbeing hubs selling trees and opening the farm up for people to come and choose.”

Next year, Kelly says the business has high hopes of winning the wreath making category in the BCTGA competition.

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