Since moving to its Welsh home in Llanfyllin, Play Festival has been watched over by the iconic Lonely Tree. The recent storms that have battered the UK have felled the tree to the great sadness of the local people and Play Festival attendees.
The tree is a great landmark and much loved not only by the Play Festival goers but, of course, by the local people. It's so beloved by the people of Llanfyllin that, rumour has it, newcomers to the area must make the trek up the hill and give the tree a hug. The Lonely Tree is also the local council's emblem.
"Players" fell in love with the tree right from the start and every year since it's greeted us from a few miles down the road and brought the excitement to boiling point for many spinners and jugglers on their way to the festival. It's also inspired many early morning walks to go and meet the tree in person and look down upon the festival and town.
The Lonely Tree stands on Greenhall Hill on land owned by Peter Lewis. Mr. Lewis has recently taken advice from the Forestry Commisiion and Tree Hunter organisation about how the tree might be saved.
Returning the Lonely Tree to upright is out of the question as the extra stress will kill the tree. However, there are still two intact tap roots supplying the tree with water and nutrients from the ground. It's hoped this will enable the tree to "phoenix" from where it lies, sprouting a new tree from the felled one.
Urgent work is needed to give the Lonely Tree the best chance of survival. The tap roots need to be protected and covered with earth and a sheep-proof fence needs to be erected to stop the tree from becoming lunch. This is much easier said than done as the tree stands atop a steep and fairly inaccesible hill.
The local council is going to cover the costs initially but charitable funds need to be raised in the long term. You can donate to this cause by clicking this link. If you live locally, or are just a superstar, Mr Lewis has asked for volunteers. You can find his contact details at the bottom of this page.
You can see some pictures of the start of "Operation: Lonely Tree" on the BBC's website.