Val's Valentine's tree brightens up lockdown

Val Clifford with her Valentine's tree

Val Clifford with her Valentine's tree - Credit: Contributed

After the somewhat muted Christmas celebrations of last year had ended, and it was time to put the decorations away, 77-year-old Val Clifford was stuck for what to do with her Christmas tree.
Unable to dismantle it by herself, Val decided instead to redecorate it, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Val, who has lived in Sidmouth for 50 years with her late husband Alan and is mother to two children, Ian and Tina, and a grandmother to Robyn and Calvin, got the idea of a Valentine’s Day tree from her friends.

“After Christmas, due to Covid no one could come into my house to help me take down the tree, so I thought why not leave it up. If it's ok for the Queen, she leaves hers up until February, then why not me, too!” Said Val.
“A friend jokingly suggested I turn it into a Valentine tree. I went on the internet and found heart decorations, so there we are.” Val bought tin foil hearts, strings of felt hearts, and red heart shiny balls to adorn the branches with. 
 

Val Clifford with her Valentine's tree

Val Clifford with her Valentine's tree - Credit: Contributed


Together with her husband, Val previously owned the Devoran Hotel on the seafront for 30 years and remembers the regular seasonal celebrations with fondness. 
“We always decorated lavishly for Christmas and on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s day we filled the hotel with flowers and all the ladies were given a posy,” she said.
“I do like Valentine’s Day and so did my husband. I still have his last card he gave me in 2017”.
 
Like so many people across the country, Val has found lockdown difficult and it’s the small things like her tree that have helped to pass the time and to bring a little cheer.
“I have found this lockdown more difficult not being able to go out due to the weather. I have arthritis and my friends can’t come in to help me due to the restrictions.
“I am however, lucky that I am able to be in a bubble with my family who moved to live in Exeter,” added Val.
 
Even though Valentine’s Day has passed, Val doesn’t intend to take her tree down just yet.
“I am leaving it up for Easter. I have decorations I have used for some years, which I used to decorate our front porch. Maybe I will leave it up for this Christmas, too!”

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