Nature-Loving Grandma Stages One-Woman Protest to Protect Tree Due to Be Felled By Local Government

​70-year-old Virginia Hanley staging her one-woman protest – SWNS

A disabled, nature-loving grandmother staged a one-woman protest to get a stay of execution for a healthy willow tree about to be chopped down.

Workers arrived in the neighborhood on Tuesday, where Virginia Hanley has lived since 2007.

When she looked out the window, she was shocked to see workers preparing to chop the tree down, after the local Council decided to remove the 61-year-old willow due to issues at a nearby property.

The Englishwoman from Minster in Sheppey, Kent, said they were under orders from Swale Borough Council and the tree was set to be gone in four hours.

“I replied saying ‘oh, so I’ve got four hours to try and sort this out?’ and he said, ‘oh no, I’m starting it now’”.

Grabbing her walking stick, a chair, and quilt, the 70-year-old bundled up for the cold and planted herself at the foot of the tree.

The act of defiance was no easy feat, as she was living with nerve malfunction following a road accident decades ago that left her unable to walk for long distances.

“While I was under the tree the workers told me they couldn’t wait while I was there because it was costing them money, so they left and they promised me they wouldn’t be back. But 15 minutes later, they were.

“I told them that I wasn’t going anywhere and that I wanted to know why this tree is coming down.”

Ms. Hanley was told that the Council assumed the willow had caused a neighbor’s porch and house to subside after their insurance company inspected the property and blamed the tree.

But Virginia’s home had experienced the same phenomenon and, she explained in a video below, when experts dug up her home they said it wasn’t the willow tree.

“So the chances of them having a willow tree problem and me not having one seemed odd to me.”

The US Geological Survey says land subsidence, which is a gradual settling (or sudden sinking) of the Earth’s surface, is principally caused by aquifer-system compaction, drainage of organic soils, underground mining, hydro-compaction, natural compaction, sinkholes, and thawing permafrost.

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Hanley’s neighbor, who has lived in his home for 25 years, said, “My insurance company, Direct Line, dug up my front garden to confirm it is the tree that is causing the subsidence.

“I don’t know what all this rubbish is about with her trying to save the tree. I can’t understand why she is worrying about a poxy tree, it’s like flogging a dead horse.

“I called the council and they told me on the phone that the tree is on their property and she has no right to sit under their trees.”

But, thanks to Virginia, at the moment the old willow is still standing.

“There are three beautiful trees by my home which make living here a pleasure. They make it look nice, and trees are essential, essential for our well being.

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“We all know that, everybody knows that, SBC knows that. Those trees have been here since 1962, when this bungalow was built.

A Swale council spokesman confirmed that despite the protest they believe it is necessary for the willow to be taken down.

“Unfortunately, we have had to take the decision to fell this tree. This is not a decision we have taken lightly, and only after we have investigated the issue thoroughly, including root analysis reports which highlighted the tree’s impact on the property.

“In these situations, we do aim to replace any felled trees where practical, and we will review this location for suitability once the felling work has been completed.”

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But Virginia is not ready to give up. “If they try and take this tree down, I’m going to be sitting under it.

“I’ve got to do what I said I would do, because it’s the right thing to do.”

See the interview with Ms. Hanley…

HAIL the Tree Rescuer By Sharing Her Story on Social Media…