Emotional Eddie Howe mourns massacre of ‘beautiful’ Sycamore Gap tree
The Newcastle United manager shared his thoughts on the Northumberland incident that has upset the region and UK.
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Newcastle United manager Eddie Howe took a moment to mourn the loss of the 'beautiful' Sycamore Gap tree after it was felled overnight on Thursday.
The Northumberland landmark is one of the UK's most photographed trees and had become a nature hotspot for walkers and a sought-after filming location having starred in the 1991 Hollywood film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.
Northumbria Police are treating the felling of the tree as criminal damage and had arrested a suspect in a 16-year-old boy, who has now been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
The incident has saddened not only the North East but people all over the country who shared memories of the lonely tree. Social media users have shared memories of proposals, spreading loved ones' ashes and more that had taken place in the Northumberland countryside.
While previewing this weekend's Premier League trip to Burnley, Howe was asked for his thoughts on the incident. The Newcastle United boss said: "I'm really, really sad that I wasn't able to get there before what happened. I'm really saddened by it. I don't quite know how to describe it.
"When I heard the news, I was just so disappointed that an act can ruin something that's there for the pleasure of everybody and it's such a beautiful thing. Very sad."
Since taking the managerial role at St James' Park, Howe has become a local hero having taken the side from relegation struggles to Champions League highs and lifted the mood of the city. Earlier this month the manager was the official starter of the iconic Great North Run, much to the delight of Magpies fans taking part in the half marathon.
Speaking yesterday, Superintendent Kevin Waring of Northumbria Police, said: “This is an incredibly sad day. The tree was iconic to the North East and enjoyed by so many who live in or who have visited this region.
“As a Force, are fully committed to finding out the full circumstances and we will consider every tactic at our disposal in this investigation.
“Anyone found to have been responsible for this damage – which we believe to be a deliberate act of vandalism – can expect to be dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
“I would ask anyone who saw anything suspicious or knows anything that can assist our investigation to get in touch with us.”
Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness, said: "I’m devastated that the famous Sycamore is gone. That tree was ours. It was an iconic North East landmark standing tall in our beautiful Northumberland.
“I am incandescent that this looks like a deliberate act of vandalism. I’ll be raising this personally today. I know Northumbria Police are at the scene and officers will do their utmost to catch whoever is behind this. Terrible news."