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Art - Competition

Copper beeches are just about the best-looking trees around. One of the surefire signs of spring arriving is when their leaves turn from olive to the colour of burnished copper. There are few more splendid sights than a summertime copper beech saturated in early evening sunlight. These trees deserve serious respect. They last a lot longer than us: they live for up to 300 years, and sometimes don’t start flowering until they’re 90. The copper beech outside the prison in Lewes has been there longer than the prison itself. Which is why local residents became really annoyed when the prison governor threatened to chop it down, along with the other trees which have been decimated in recent months, allowing passers-by the dubious pleasure of being able to get a better view of that grim Victorian building.

Philip Carr-Gomm, secretary of the Bards and Druids of Lewes, is one of those residents (see Viva Lewes issue 15) and he has, together with the Lewes District Council, devised a competition to help raise awareness of this and other trees under threat in Lewes, as part of the forthcoming Artwave Festival. Artists have been set the challenge to create a piece of artwork representing the copper beech outside the prison. It can be in any form: painting, drawing, photograph, embroidery, sculpture, print etc. A panel of judges will select the winner, who will be awarded £100 cash prize, donated by the Bards and Druids of Sussex. AG

Life’s a beech – and then they cut it down

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