Festive tree with roots in past

Aileen Stirling's Christmas tree will come out again this year - as it has done every year since the end of the First World War.

The Renfrew grandmother is laying claim to owning Scotland's oldest Christmas tree, at 92 years old.

The carol-playing decoration has cheered generations of her family through the Depression, the Second World War, the Queen's coronation and the arrival of Scottish devolution.

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"It's like a member of the family, really," said Ms Stirling, 58, a retired bank worker. "To think of all the Christmas parties it has witnessed of generations of my family over the years gets me quite emotional."

The German-made clockwork tree was bought by her businessman grandfather, Robert Muir, in 1918. Ms Stirling still has the original price tag, showing the 2 10s cost, (127 in today's money). It still has its tinkling bells and holders on branches that were once used for candles.

Ms Stirling, a mother-of-two, said: "My grandfather ran a newsagent's shop in Renfrew and the tree was placed in the window to bring in the customers. That shows you how unusual it must have been at the time.

"My father inherited the tree when his dad died. When I got it, I made sure it has been dressed and placed in a prominent place in our house ever since."

The previous claim to Scotland's oldest Christmas tree was made by Jean Eadie of Aberdeen, whose specimen is 82 years old.