Sycamore Gap: Northumberland photographer's calendar raises more than £5,000 for National Trust

Wil Cheung has taken many photos of Sycamore Gap over the years. Credit: Wil Cheung

A photographer has raised more than £5,000 for the National Trust from the sales of a calendar he created using images of Sycamore Gap.

Wil Cheung, who hosts stargazing events in Northumberland's Dark Sky Park, had taken several photos of the now felled tree for many years.

After the felling on 28 September this year, Mr Cheung said he was in shock, adding: "After the felling of the tree, I was just in a numb state for a while. When I first heard about it I thought it was another prank - I didn’t believe it."

Wil Cheung's calendar features his photography of Sycamore Gap and has sold over 930 copies with some dispatched to the US and New Zealand. Credit: Wil Cheung

He continued: "I had a lot of enquiries for orders of my photos. I didn’t reply to anyone as I struggle to come to terms with it. I had quite a few people suggest I should create a calendar, they even suggested I could make a lot of money if I produced one.

"A week later I decided to go ahead but on the condition that all the money after costs went straight to charity."

Wil Cheung hosts stargazing events in Northumberland's Dark Sky Park as there is minimal light pollution and a clear view of the Milky Way. Credit: Wil Cheung

The photographer decided he would raise funds for the National Trust, which owns the land the tree stood on.

Mr Cheung worries the culprit or culprits "will get away with" the felling, though he said he talks about the tree every night at stargazing events as many of his presentation slides include a photo of the tree with different astronomical phenomena.

These include shooting stars, comets and star trails.

He added: "I do get upset every time and it’s so difficult for me still. The calendar is a collection of my favourite shots of Sycamore Gap in different settings including strong northern lights above the tree just days before its felling.

"The calendar celebrates the beauty of how the tree was and we can spend every day next year admiring its beauty."

He originally aimed to sell 250 but following huge demand from across the region and further afield, he has a revised target of 1,000.

The felling of the Sycamore Gap tree proved shocking for many including Wil Cheung who says the calendar is a way of celebrating its beauty. Credit: Wil Cheung

Mr Cheung said he had been inundated with orders, with some being dispatched as far as the US and New Zealand.

"A lot of people have purchased the calendar from around the world, in nearly all cases people who have visited the tree in the past, or have heard about or follow me on Facebook - over the years appreciating the tree in all different settings and seasons," he continued.

So far Mr Cheung has sold more than 930 calendars at a minimum of £12 each, though some people have donated more.

Andrew Poad, general manager for National Trust Hadrian's Wall and Tyne Valley, said they have been "overwhelmed" by all of the offers of support and donations the charity has received in response to what has been reported to be "an act of vandalism".

Mr Poad said: "We know how special and important the tree was to the community, local businesses and people across the UK and we’re very grateful to Wil and everyone who has bought a calendar and donated to help celebrate its legacy and look after this special site."

Northumbria Police have previously said: "A range of enquiries have been ongoing ever since, with the support of partners, as our officers work to ascertain the full circumstances surrounding the damage and identify anyone involved."

Anyone with information is asked to contact police via their ‘Tell Us Something’ website or by calling 101 quoting log NP-20230928-0295.

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