A mum-of-two who married a tree says her green lover is 'as attractive as ever' ahead of their third Christmas together.
Kate Cunningham changed her surname to Elder when she tied the knot to an elder tree in 2019 after being lured in by its light shade of bark and impressive size.
She visits the tree at Rimrose Valley Country Park in Sefton, Merseyside up to five times a week and each December decorates it with a wreath, tinsel and baubles.
The 37-year-old plans to spend Boxing Day with her bark-covered other half – leaving the rest of her family at home.
Kate described the tree as part of her family now and even signs her Christmas cards as 'With Winter Wishes, from Mr and Mrs Elder'.
The former teaching assistant admitted that she sometimes clocks up to five visits a week, with this accelerating during the lockdowns.
Kate said: "It's our third Christmas together now so it almost feels like tradition to get the decorations out for it.
"When I was putting them up, the tree was as attractive to me as ever in the bright December sun.
"I made the wreath from holly, ivy, pine and red winter berries which I foraged from a walk over the weekend.
"Plus I added a little spray of festive glitter."
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Kate, from the nearby village of Melling, immediately knew the elder tree was 'the one' due to its earthly energy drawing her towards it.
When visiting Rimrose Valley Country Park to find the tree she would wed, her attraction to the elder was instantaneous.
The tree-loving mum has always felt connected to nature, but bonded with the elder tree on a much deeper level than anything else in the park.
She was attracted to its light bark colour and big size, saying it stood out from the darker oak trees in the park.
She added: "People still ask questions and are still unsure of my motivations behind the wedding.
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"I get asked, 'has being married changed your life for the better?' Yes it has!
"'Do you love the tree?' Yes I do!"
Kate's family and friends fully support her marriage as they know she has always felt deeply connected to the earth.
For Kate, trees are like people – they have energy and the capacity to form bonds with things around them.
But her union with the shrub can't be said to be entirely monogamous – as Kate has a boyfriend that has been with her every step of the way.
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He supports her choice and even joins Kate on some of her visits, unfazed by their kissing and cuddling.
She still wears her wedding ring proudly, which was a birthday present from her Grandad a few years ago.
The marriage has given Kate a new lease of confidence which she channels into climate activism.
Kate works as a carer for her autistic son alongside her environmental work.
The wacky marriage was part of a winder campaign to save Rimrose Valley Country Park from being transformed into a bypass by National Highways.
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