A woman from Merseyside celebrates her one-year wedding anniversary, although the roots of this story run a little deeper.
KATE ELDER, formerly known as Cunningham, tied the knot with an elder tree last September and she says “the pair are more loved-up than ever and they have no plans to divorce.”
The tree-voted wife said, “Trees will always come first. They do keep us alive.”
The mother-of-two regularly visits her elder-ly lover at least five times a week.
“I think getting married was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
“Me and my friends went over to the tree and said hello for a small celebration, a couple of days ago.
“It was a little gathering with two friends where we raised a toast and had a glass of elderflower champagne.
“Not once have I thought that I shouldn’t have done it. It’s something that I feel like happened at the right time.”
Kate, who now works as a carer for her son, who has autism, denies causing her son any deep rooted problems, “Despite causing a little bit of embarrassment for my 15-year-old, he sees the bigger picture now and understands what it’s for.”
The seeds were planted for this strange event by female activists in Mexico, who held similar ceremonies as a form of protest to raise awareness of illegal logging and land clearing.
The ceremony branched out into dozens of people, with local musician and poet Davy Edge performing.
Kate admits the original ceremony was a way of drawing attention to a campaign to save Rimrose Valley Country Park which was set to be transformed into a bypass by Highways England.
Local residents campaigned to halt the new three-mile bypass, thought to ease traffic congestion, through Rimrose Valley and into the Port of Liverpool.
But despite the origins of their story together, Kate insists the marriage has made her stronger, “It’s something which has made me feel a bit more confident about myself. I don’t care about what anyone else says.
“Marrying the tree has given me a new purpose.
“I’ve changed my name to Elder. So even that gives me a whole new feeling. It fits in with married life as well, I feel like a changed person.”
This boost in confidence and the longevity of their marriage is due to Kate’s commitment to her husband, “I make sure to stop off, even if it’s just for a five minute wander.
“I like to just sit there and soak in the surroundings. I like the peace and quiet.
“Often I like to talk to the tree, I say hello and thank you for your good energy.
“I feel like a stronger, better person that’s more dedicated to the whole campaign than ever before.
“As much as it’s about this campaign, I’m thinking about the destruction all across the world. This world is quite beautiful and it can’t all be doom and gloom.”
The tree hugger wants to inspire others to take up this kind of peaceful activism and has called for an annual ‘Marry A Tree Day’.
Speaking about her trunky husband, Kate admits “One day I was looking around tree hunting. I was like ‘oh yeah nice, nice, nice’ as I looked at the oaks, but as soon as I saw the elder, I thought ‘that’s the one’.
“It doesn’t look like anything else around.
“I walked around it for a few hours because the park is so big. It’s very diverse with lots of different areas.
“This one stood alone amongst the tree. I just feel like trees are people. Sometimes you just know.
“You know if you feel attracted to someone or smile at them as you walk past, there’s just a natural attraction.
“Trees and flowers are the same. I like the story behind the elder tree.”
In a cruel with of a trees trunk, the traditional gift for a first wedding anniversary is paper.
Mr Elder was unavailable for comment but seemed grounded.