A QUIRKY attraction firmly rooted in local folklore has been revealed as the latest victim of the wild weather.
Lulworth Cove’s famous ‘bucket tree’ is no more after violent gusts blew it down.
The 25-year-old leylandii was well-known for its bountiful additions of buckets and spades hanging from the branches, a practice started by the late Jim Miller, a colourful character of the Cove.
When asked by children what the tree was all about, Mr Miller used to tell them that was how buckets and spades were produced.
Family members ensured the tradition continued by adding new buckets and have raised tens of thousands for charity by encouraging passers-by to donate spare coins. More than £4,700 was raised last year.
Mr Miller’s granddaughter Layla Miller has vowed to plant another tree in the garden outside the family home at Coastguard Cottages, but for now is lamenting the loss of what had become a must-see attraction.
Many of the buckets were destroyed when the tree was blown over just before Christmas, she said.
Miss Miller said: “The bucket tree was quirky but that was granddad’s character. He liked to wind tourists up and tell different stories about it. He was a fisherman and used to collect all sorts of things from the beach. His son Joe planted the tree. Granddad started adding buckets to it in about 2002, possibly earlier.”
Miss Miller, 31, added: “After he passed away, in 2008, we carried on looking after the tree and adding buckets.
“We started collecting for Harlequin Care, a local charity which supports unpaid carers.
“In one month we raised £800 which demonstrates how popular the tree was with people. It was a real talking point.”
Miss Miller said it was ‘sad’ the tree had gone but also admitted being slightly relieved as the tree had grown to such an extent she was getting worried about its impact on nearby buildings.
She added: “A few people have asked whether we have chopped it down but I can confirm it was the weather’s fault.”
The family will continue to keep a collection bucket in the garden for Harlequin Care.