Clergyman Dennis Brett has thanked the extraordinary generosity of the public, after donations raised enough to cover the cost of removing a huge fallen tree in St John’s Churchyard, Warminster.

The tree toppled on to about 100 gravestones in February, exposing the roots, after violent winds battered the county.

Nobody was hurt and damage to the gravestones was minimal.

Work to clear the tree cost the church £3,200 and is almost complete, but Rev Brett said the generosity of Wiltshire Times’ readers raised enough to cover the cost.

It is believed the tree, a Bhutan pine, has stood on the spot since the church was built, nearly 150 years ago. It is referred to by the Rev Brett as The Trinity, due to the shape of its branches.

Rev Brett said: “The cost for the tree being removed was covered by the donations from the public and I would like to express my thanks to the readers of the Wiltshire Times, who have shown a huge amount of generosity.

“We have had donations from Trowbridge, Bradford on Avon, Melksham, Devizes and Warminster. We have also had responses from up and down the country, which is really incredible.

“The work is 95 per cent done and it’s just a case of restoring the damage to the ground where the roots came out, but the cost of the work was £3,200 and we had almost £3,345 in donations.

“It’s extraordinary and it demonstrates to me what this nation and our people are like.

“We are very generous people and in light of all of these things that have great demand on our pockets, for them to give so generously is remarkable.”

Rev Brett is planning on keeping part of the trunk of the fallen tree and getting a carpenter to carve it into a bench that can take its place.

He added: “I want to thank the Wiltshire Times for their support and everyone who donated.

“The money will go into the restoration and maintenance of the church yard, as it was intended.”